On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Nearly three years ago, Congress passed a federal hate crime law. It makes it illegal to target victims because of their race, religion or sexual orientation. The law drew protests from some Republican lawmakers and religious groups, who said it threatened their free speech rights. And the law has been used sparingly.
Here in Washington, the House of Representatives passed its version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act or CISPA, as it's known. Backers say the bill is meant to protect the country's Internet infrastructure from cyberattacks. But civil libertarians and other opponents believes CISPA will give the U.S. government unprecedented access to all sorts of private information about you that is now online without ever having to go to a judge and ask for it. NPR's Steve Henn reports.
The U.S. Congress doesn't win any popularity contests. Approval ratings for the legislative branch run the gamut from dismal to embarrassing. Nine percent at their lowest, and all the chaos and discord in the 112th Congress have distressed a lot of its members too. Democratic representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri called the last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling, quote, "a sugar-coated Satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see."
Lawmakers in the House plan to vote Friday on a measure that would prevent a doubling of the student loan interest rate on July 1. The House would pay for the decreased revenue by raiding the new health care law's fund for preventive care.