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Episodes and Videos

From the Vault

Who are the Guantanamo Detainees?

Air Date: 
April 29, 2011
Over the weekend, the United States' only prisoner of war from Afghanistan was released by the Taliban in exchange for five detaineess held at Guantanamo Bay. The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after being held captive for five years was criticized by some Congressional Republicans who argue the Obama administration negotiated with terrorists. With the news of the prisoner swap, we look back in the Washington Week Vault to April 2011 when Tom Gjelten of NPR reported on the detainees at Guantanamo.
From the Vault

Obama, Gates, and the Afghanistan Troop Surge

Air Date: 
September 4, 2009
In his new memoir to be released next week, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has sharp criticisms for President Obama – including over the Afghanistan troop surge. Obama “doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” Gates writes. We look back in the Washington Week Vault to September 2009 during the debate over sending more troops to Afghanistan. As ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported at the time, there were “tribes breaking up within the White House” over whether to send more troops.
From the Vault

Debating the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004

Air Date: 
September 10, 2004
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut one-year ago renewed debate about gun control in the United States, but legislation requiring background checks on gun purchases failed to pass the Senate. In 2004, as the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was set to expire, Congress debated renewing the ban on semiautomatic rifles like the one used in the Newtown shooting. From our Washington Week Vault, Gebe Martinez of The Houston Chronicle explained why Congress chose to let the 10-year ban expire.
From the Vault

Washington Week Remembers Mandela (Part Two)

Air Date: 
June 26, 1990
On June 26, 1990, Washington Week devoted an entire show to Nelson Mandela's visit to the U.S. since his release from Robben Island. In this second of two parts, Paul Duke moderated a package on Mandela's visits to NY, Boston, the UN, White House and Capitol Hill.
Nelson Mandela
From the Vault

Washington Week Remembers Mandela (Part One)

Air Date: 
June 26, 1990
On June 26, 1990, Washington Week devoted an entire show to Nelson and Winnie Mandela's visit to the U.S. In this first of two parts, Paul Duke moderated a package on Mandela's trips to New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. where he visited President George H.W. Bush at the White House and a speech to a joint meeting of Congress.
From the Vault

Passing the Brady Bill in 1993

Air Date: 
November 26, 1993
This week, as the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting approaches, the Connecticut State's Attorney in Danbury released a report on the Newtown, CT massacre. The shooting last December renewed a debate in Congress over gun control, but Congress was unable to pass legislation to prevent similar mass shootings. Twenty years ago this week President Clinton signed into law the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act which mandated background checks for firearms purchases. Our 1993 Washington Week panel discussed how the bill, named for President Reagan's press secretary who was shot during a 1981 assassination attempt on the president, passed Congress with bipartisan support.
From the Vault

Avoiding the 'Nuclear Option' in 2005

Air Date: 
May 20, 2005
Senate Democrats voted Thursday to change filibuster rules to allow a simple majority vote to confirm President Obama's cabinet and judicial nominations after three of his nominees to the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit were filibustered. In 2005, when Republicans controlled the White House and Senate, Democrats -- including then-Minority Leader Harry Reid -- opposed the so-called nuclear option and fought to preserve their right to filibuster President Bush's nominations. In the end, a group of senators negotiated an agreement to avoid the changing of Senate rules and allow several Bush nominees to have an up or down vote.
From the Vault

The Rollout of Medicare Part D

Air Date: 
January 20, 2006
Just weeks after the open enrollment period began for the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is facing criticism for a series of "glitches" in the system. Problems have rocked the healthcare.gov website, making it difficult for many Americans to select an insurance plan. In January of 2006, the government's prescription drug program, Medicare Part D, also opened to less than stellar reviews. Older Americans struggled to navigate the website and faced problems getting new insurance ID cards.
From the Vault

2011 Debt Ceiling Debate

Air Date: 
July 29, 2011
As the government shutdown continues, the next fiscal crisis is already on the horizon. The Treasury says the U.S. will default on its loans on Oct. 17 unless Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling, but House Republicans will not allow the debt ceiling to be raised without some concessions. During last fight to raise the debt ceiling in 2011, a deal was reached just 2 days before U.S. borrowing authority lapsed. The deal included significant cuts in spending, but the cantankerous debate resulted in the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. Gwen Ifill discussed the debate with Jeanne Cummings, Major Garrett, Karen Tumulty, and David Wessel.