Susan Davis | KALW

Susan Davis

Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.

If 2008 was about hope and change for Democrats, 2020 is about anger and fear.

"I'm terrified, and if I were not as old as I am I'd be out on the streets," said Barbara Ravage, 75, a retiree who lives on Cape Cod. The pandemic has kept Ravage at home and away from volunteering in local politics this year, so instead she has given more money to local politicians and activist causes she supports. "There is no question I have traded rolling up my sleeves into reaching in to my wallet," she said.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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While the outcome of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court is not in doubt, senators remain at odds over the decision to advance a nomination so close to a presidential election.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., once claimed that he would not support such a move, but he quickly reversed himself following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The House overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning QAnon, the fringe movement that promotes wide-ranging conspiracies about the U.S. government and yet has enjoyed a rising tide inside conservative politics in part because of tacit encouragement from President Trump.

The measure passed 371-18, with one GOP member voting present.

QAnon is a "collective delusion," said House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., "We all must call it what it is: a sick cult."

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing more House Democrats for reelection in at least a decade, prompting pushback from some of its strongest GOP allies in Congress.

"It is hypocrisy that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would endorse these Democrats that are part of this socialist agenda that is driving this country out and is fighting this president," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., recently told Fox News.

Senate Republicans rallied around a $300 billion coronavirus aid package, but it fell short of the necessary 60-vote majority to advance, effectively killing the measure. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone Republican joining Senate Democrats to oppose it — Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., missed the vote.

As former Vice President Joe Biden prepares to give his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday night, Democratic lawmakers and strategists are preparing for what a Biden administration could look like, what the priorities would be and whether anything can actually get done in a Washington accustomed to doing very little.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lost the Senate GOP primary on Tuesday, delivering a victory of sorts for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy to hold on to his majority this November.

Washington is racing to complete a fifth round of legislation to address the ongoing, and still surging, coronavirus pandemic in the next three weeks. The two parties and the White House are at odds over what the major pillars of the legislation should include and how much it should cost.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants to get a bill to President Trump by Aug. 7 when Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the rest of the summer — a time when lawmakers traditionally hit the campaign trail in an election year.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party couldn't break through in the presidential race, but in congressional races, younger, more diverse, progressive candidates are enjoying a recent surge in support.

"The logic of COVID-19 as well as the logic and the righteousness of the movement for Black lives, I think, is forcing all of us to re-imagine both what is necessary and what is possible, and I think it's having an impact on our politics," said Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, a New York-based minor political party.

A familiar tale is unfolding in American politics in 2020: Women are once again setting records as candidates for Congress. While the 2018 midterms saw a historic wave of Democratic candidates and general election winners, this time the surge in candidates is among Republican women running for the House.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

In the wake of national protests following the death of George Floyd, House and Senate Democrats unveiled legislation on Monday that would bring about wide-ranging reforms to police departments across the country.

The Democratic proposal, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, has more than 200 sponsors and marks one of the most comprehensive efforts in modern times to overhaul the way police do their jobs.

Senate Republicans have launched politically loaded investigations into the Obama administration and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that are expected to carry on into the fall.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins the first of a planned series of hearings on the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia investigation into possible ties with the Trump campaign. Republicans are particularly interested in the decision-making inside the Obama-Biden administration.

Updated at 2:02 p.m. ET

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to subpoena documents and depositions from Blue Star Strategies, a consulting company that worked with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma when Hunter Biden served on its board.

"We need to get to the truth about the Bidens' relationship with Burisma, and these hearings will provide the Senate with the full picture," Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said.

A coalition of Democratic committees representing governors, attorneys general, senators and members of Congress released a strategy memo Tuesday outlining that their collective strategy for the 2020 elections is to focus on health care.

House lawmakers on Friday approved a Democratic proposal to provide $3 trillion in coronavirus relief that would include a new wave of help for state and local governments, workers and families.

The House voted 208 to 199 — largely along party lines — to pass the measure. The size of the bill represents the biggest ever proposed and it includes another round of direct cash payments to Americans, extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, and adds hazard pay for front-line workers. It also expands virus-testing efforts, contact tracing and treatment.

Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

House Democrats are moving full steam ahead with legislation to provide a new wave of coronavirus relief at a price tag of more than $3 trillion, with plans to call the full House back on Friday to approve it.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The first competitive congressional race of the coronavirus era takes place Tuesday in Southern California, where Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith are vying to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned last year because of a personal scandal.

The winner will serve out Hill's current term through November, when the same two candidates will be on the ballot again for a full two-year term.

As new allegations emerge about his motives for retirement, Judge Thomas Griffith says that he faced no political pressure in his decision to leave the bench.

"My decision was driven entirely by personal concerns and involved no discussions with the White House or the Senate," he said in a statement provided to NPR.

Updated at on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday signed Congress' latest coronavirus economic relief package, which includes additional aid to small businesses and hospitals.

The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House on Thursday — 388-5, with one lawmaker voting present.

The five lawmakers who voted against the package included one Democrat — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — and four Republicans — Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jody Hice of Georgia, Ken Buck of Colorado and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The coronavirus pandemic and related economic tailspin is expected to be the top issue that will determine how Americans vote this November, according to top party strategists working on 2020 races.

"We all know that both the health crisis of coronavirus and the economic impact that's followed will likely be the most dominant issue, perhaps the only issue, that voters will be thinking about when deciding who to support in the fall elections," Steven Law told NPR. Law runs the Senate Leadership Fund, the top Republican super PAC aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats will push to include a new hazard pay program for frontline workers in the coronavirus pandemic in the next legislative vehicle that passes Congress in response to the crisis.

"We are asking these workers to take great risks and we should reward them for it," Schumer told reporters Tuesday on a conference call.

The Democratic proposal has two main components: up to a $25,000 pay increase for essential workers, and a one-time $15,000 incentive to help recruit new health care workers during the pandemic.

Multiple U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the solvency of a recently enacted $350 billion emergency lending program for small businesses, calling for Congress to pass another wave of funding as soon as this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get the Senate to approve, without objection, another influx of cash on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is aggressively advocating for a second wave of legislation on top of the recently enacted $2 trillion rescue package to confront the coronavirus pandemic, but her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is advocating for a more cautious wait-and-see approach.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

Updated at 7:20 a.m. ET

After a tense day on the Senate floor that included leaders trading barbs over who is to blame for failing to advance a new coronavirus response bill, the top Senate Democrat said late Monday night that he was "very, very close" to an agreement with the White House on a deal for a third wave of emergency funding that could go well past $1 trillion.

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