Susan Davis | KERA News

Susan Davis

Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR. 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.

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President Trump will deliver his first official State of the Union address tonight. Republicans like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy say it should not be about politics.

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The Trump administration says it is willing to offer a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people who are in the country illegally, if lawmakers will spend $25 billion on a border wall and make changes to the legal immigration system.

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Updated at 11 p.m. ET

In recent weeks, President Trump has told lawmakers he would sign any immigration measure that Congress sent him but also flatly rejected a draft of a deal negotiated by six senators.

Now, the White House is laying out the specific elements it wants to see from a bill offering permanent protection for people in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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And we're going to turn now to NPR's congressional correspondent Susan Davis on Capitol Hill. Susan, thanks so much for being with us.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Scott.

Updated at 11:16 p.m. ET

A partial government shutdown now looks inevitable after the Senate lacks the votes on a stopgap spending bill late Friday night.

The vote was 50-48 in favor of the measure with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., yet to vote.

Like many lawmakers, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., supports reviving earmarks, but he mused at a House Rules Committee hearing Wednesday that the debate is futile if House Speaker Paul Ryan does not.

"When the speaker ain't inclined, ain't much going to happen," Hastings quipped, noting the speaker reiterated as recently as last Friday that he opposes ending an earmark ban put in place by former House Speaker John Boehner.

President Trump surprised lawmakers at the White House last week when he used a live, televised meeting ostensibly about immigration legislation to voice his support for earmarks.

"Maybe you should start thinking about going back to a form of earmarks," Trump said, laying out a familiar — but hotly contested — argument that when earmarks were in fashion, Washington worked better. "Maybe that brings people together. In our system right now, the way it is set up, will never bring people together."

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

The longest-serving Republican senator in American history is finally ready to call it quits.

Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch announced on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in 2018 and will leave the Senate at the end of his current term, after 42 years in his seat.

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Congress Wraps Up 2017

Dec 22, 2017

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ending 2017 with an observation.

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MITCH MCCONNELL: This has not been a very bipartisan year. Most of our big accomplishments we largely had to do Republicans-only.

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Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is ending the year on a rather thoughtful note.

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Party leaders played a pivotal role in forcing the resignations of three members of Congress within three days this week, and their work might not be done yet.

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Republicans in Congress are trying to pass a final tax bill and avoid a government shutdown. But it is not working out as easily as party leaders had hoped. With us from the Capitol to talk about this is congressional correspondent Susan Davis. Hey, Sue.

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Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

The House Ethics Committee is now investigating the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, who is the latest lawmaker caught in the wave of sexual harassment claims.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken is facing a second allegation that he groped a woman without consent while her husband took a photo of her with the senator at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

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House Republicans passed a $1.4 trillion tax bill yesterday by a comfortable margin. If also passed by the Senate, this would be the most sweeping tax overhaul since Ronald Reagan was president.

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A group of House and Senate lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday to overhaul the system for filing and settling harassment claims from congressional employees.

"Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a leading co-sponsor of the ME TOO Congress Act, named after the #MeToo social media awareness campaign for victims of sexual harassment and assault.

Two female lawmakers accused sitting members of Congress of sexual harassment but did not divulge their identities, at a House hearing Tuesday.

"This is about a member who is here now; I don't know who it is. But somebody who I trust told me the situation," said Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., a member of the House Administration Committee, which is conducting a review of existing policies to prevent and report sexual harassment.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this morning said that he now believes the allegations of four women who say that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore made sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

The Senate Finance Committee unveiled its version of a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code on Thursday, as the House Ways and Means Committee was preparing to pass its own bill. The differing proposals forecast clashes between the two chambers that will make it difficult for Congress to enact the legislation by the end of the year as promised.

The two bills share a name, The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, but diverge on tax policy that affects both the business and individual sides of the tax code.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET: Thursday evening the Senate approved a resolution mandating sexual harassment prevention training for all employees of the Senate, including senators.

Usually it takes a scandal that rocks the Capitol to change the way it runs, but this time lawmakers aren't waiting for one before they beginning taking steps to enhance safeguards against sexual harassment in Congress.

Republicans had watched Donald Trump unleash powerful forces inside their party for more than a year. On Election Day last year, the question for many inside the GOP was how to deal with those forces once Trump had lost.

Few had figured out what it would mean for the party if he won.

Democrats were planning. There were lists of cabinet secretaries and the challenge of breaking the deadlock that set in between President Obama and the GOP Congress once President Hillary Clinton was in office.

Few had figured out what it would mean for the party if she lost.

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Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET

Marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to send a message to Congress is a classic move in presidential political theater, and Tuesday is President Trump's inaugural performance. Trump makes his first visit to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Republicans at their weekly meeting and the message is clear: Pass a tax cut.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

A bipartisan coalition of 24 senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats — has signed on to health care legislation to prop up the individual insurance market and keep premiums down. With the expected support of all Senate Democrats, it could have the votes to pass the chamber. But questions remain over when it might actually get a vote, as well as whether President Trump and House Republicans would bring the bill over the finish line.

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