Claudia Grisales | New Hampshire Public Radio

Claudia Grisales

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All right. So what comes next? The attention now turns to Congress and Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation process. We've got NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales to talk about that. Hi, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi there.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rolled out a new proposal for a smaller version of a pandemic relief aid bill, but it's unclear how much support the measure could garner even in his own party. And top Democrats opposed the plan, arguing it was "emaciated" even before it was officially released.

The historic district in the town of Waxhaw, N.C., is marked with lines of traditional shops and the sounds of the train that runs through it.

Sixty-nine-year-old Allen Cronk is visiting a used-book store in town. The Marine Corps veteran is a Republican voter and supporting President Trump for reelection, though he says the current state of retirement benefits, like Social Security and assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs, are "a mess."

Timer Colen has been on a political journey of sorts this year, starting out as an Andrew Yang supporter, then switching to Bernie Sanders after Yang dropped out and finally landing on plans to vote for Joe Biden.

"He's not as progressive as I would like," said the 22-year-old registered independent voter. Colen is an engineering student at Davidson College outside of Charlotte, N.C.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree on the next round of coronavirus relief after two weeks of talks. In fact, the parties remain largely in the same corners where they began, each still prodding the other to compromise.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Americans are looking to Washington for coronavirus relief. But after nearly two weeks of talks, leaders from both parties can only seem to agree that they are nowhere close to a deal.

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Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva is nervous.

Last week, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest outbreak on Capitol Hill.

And although Grijalva is asymptomatic, he's worried because he's 72 years old and an admitted on-and-off smoker.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who during the pandemic has repeatedly refused to wear a mask in public, tested positive for the coronavirus.

His positive test was caught during a routine screening at the White House, Gohmert said. He was slated to attend a trip to West Texas with President Trump.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So here's how the top Senate Republican is describing his party's latest plan to help Americans.

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Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

After days of delays, congressional Republicans rolled out their proposal for a fifth wave of pandemic relief aid on Monday, setting the stage for a showdown with Democrats, who say the two sides remain far apart.

The plan, which was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., focuses on new funding for schools and a new round of payments to Americans and allows for some additional wage replacement for unemployed workers.

Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET

One of a series of reports looking at Joe Biden's potential running mates.


In combat and in Congress, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth has seen a lot of firsts.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

Several Republican senators say they will not attend the Republican National Convention to renominate President Trump in Jacksonville, Fla., in August.

President Trump is escalating his fight with Congress over a broad bipartisan effort to rename military installations named for figures from the Confederacy, threatening to veto an annual defense bill if it includes the provision.

The Senate is debating the National Defense Authorization Act, which already includes the provision backed by most members of the Senate panel. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers is looking to add the change as part of ongoing negotiations for its version of the defense legislation.

On Thursday, the House and Senate will be in session at the same time, for the first time, since the pandemic began more than three months ago.

While the 100-member Senate resumed its regular floor business in May, the much larger House of Representatives has met sparingly. With more than 430 members, the lower chamber faces higher risks for an outbreak.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans unveiled legislation on Wednesday to address a national outcry for reform of the country's law enforcement departments, with hopes of acting on police misconduct, dangerous practices and concerns of systemic racism.

But Democrats say the proposal, which would encourage police departments to end such practices such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants but does not explicitly ban them, falls short.

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held its first hearing on policing since the May 25 death of George Floyd — a black man who was killed in custody by Minneapolis police — triggered a wave of protests and international outcry for reform of the U.S. police system.

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.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has asked the Congressional Black Caucus to lead the process of drafting a legislative response to the protests that have swept the country following the death of George Floyd.

House Democrats are sorting through dozens of proposals to address policing issues, including excessive use of force and racial profiling.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The pressure is on for Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego.

For the first time, he traveled to Washington, D.C. with elaborate instructions to vote on behalf of two of his colleagues. Gallego can do this under historic new rules allowing proxy voting.

So for two days of legislative floor action, Gallego will call his colleagues — Democratic Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán of California and Filemon Vela of Texas — before every vote, amendment and other key developments.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

More than 20 Republican members of Congress and constituents are suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other officials in federal court to block proxy voting, arguing the practice is unconstitutional, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

For the first time in its history, the Democratic-led House approved rule changes that will allow members to vote by proxy and hold hearings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

For weeks, lawmakers debated the proposal as the pandemic worsened and forced the House to extend its recess as public health risks were assessed.

House Democrats installed the new rules on a largely party line vote of 217 to 189 over Republican arguments that the move bucks the chamber's institutional history and sets a dangerous precedent.

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.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is not on board with how his Republican governor has let the Lone Star State reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott let Texas' stay-at-home orders expire last month, and businesses resumed their operations with limited capacity.

With the state's caseload on the rise, Castro said it's all happening too soon.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET

Though the coronavirus remains a serious threat in Washington, D.C., U.S. senators return to the Capitol from their home states on Monday, more than five weeks after their last formal gathering and roll call votes.

In the midst of the pandemic, the Senate will resume on Monday under a series of new social distancing measures.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shared guidelines from the Capitol's attending physician for members to follow when the upper chamber returns.

The 7-page letter from Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, to senators suggests members and visitors alike maintain six feet of distance, limit staff and visitors in offices and encourages masks if possible.

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.

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