Scott Detrow | KERA News

Scott Detrow

Scott Detrow is a congressional correspondent for NPR. He covers Congress and the 2020 presidential campaign, and also co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.

Detrow joined NPR in 2015 to report on the 2016 presidential election.

Before that, he worked as a statehouse reporter in both Pennsylvania and California, for member stations WITF and KQED. He also covered energy policy for NPR's StateImpact project, where his reports on Pennsylvania's hydraulic fracturing boom won a DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton and national Edward R. Murrow Award in 2013.

Detrow got his start in public radio at Fordham University's WFUV. He graduated from Fordham, and also has a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And we're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent Scott Detrow. Scott, thank you so much for being here.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good evening.

MARTIN: What sort of reaction are we hearing from Capitol Hill?

Democratic presidential hopefuls are betting on bold.

The majority of the Democrats running for president want to create a national health insurance program. Several want to do away with private health insurance entirely. Candidates are engaging on questions about reparations for slavery, and most of the White House hopefuls have endorsed the goal of a carbon-neutral economy within the next decade.

Increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court? Several candidates are now on board.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It seems like every time you turn around, a Democrat running for president is on cable news or here on NPR staking out a pretty radical position. Last night on CNN, it was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Looking out over a crowd of firefighters chanting, "Run, Joe, run," former Vice President Joe Biden urged patience.

"Save it a little longer; I may need it in a few weeks," he said, adding, "Be careful what you wish for."

Biden isn't officially running for president — at least not yet — but Tuesday's speech to the International Association of Fire Fighter's annual conference blocks from Capitol Hill served as the latest warmup act to a potential 2020 campaign.

Most of the Democrats running for president want to create a national single-payer health care system. They want to begin a massive transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. They want to legalize marijuana, pass broad family leave policies, and do a whole lot of other things that previous generations of presidential candidates have balked from fully endorsing.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is giving it another go, launching a second campaign for the White House four years after surprising Democrats with a strong bid for the party's 2016 nomination.

"We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it's time to move that revolution forward," the independent senator told Vermont Public Radio in an interview airing Tuesday morning.

The Democratic Party is increasingly focused on and organized around diversity. It also has the most diverse field of candidates in the history of presidential politics. And voters in South Carolina, the first primary state with a predominantly African-American Democratic electorate, have been inundated with 2020 hopefuls in these early weeks of the campaign.

In the final years of John Hickenlooper's time as Colorado governor, the Democrat had a rule about President Trump.

"I didn't let anyone in my office — no one could mention his name, because then we'd talk for 30 or 40 minutes and never get anything done. You could talk about it endlessly," he said.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is the latest Democrat to enter the increasingly crowded race for the White House, making the initial announcement with a message of unity.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris is running for president in 2020. The first-term Democratic senator made the announcement on ABC's Good Morning America Monday morning.

"I love my country, and this is a moment in time that I feel a sense of responsibility to fight for the best of who we are," Harris said.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump and congressional leaders met at the White House on Friday in what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called a "lengthy and sometimes contentious" session and in which the president threatened to keep the government shut down for months or years.

And at the end, the two sides seemed no closer to resolving their standoff over funding a border wall that has forced a partial government shutdown now hitting the two-week mark, with the possibility of lasting much longer.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Bernie Sanders made his mark in the 2016 presidential election talking about millionaires and billionaires, not Houthis and the 1973 War Powers Act.

But, two years later, foreign policy is something the Vermont independent has focused on quite a bit, including taking the lead on a recent Senate resolution demanding the withdrawal of U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated Dec. 13 at 5:21 p.m. ET

The Senate voted with support from lawmakers in both parties Thursday to end U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. The 56-41 vote marks the first time the Senate utilized powers granted under the 1973 War Powers Act, which gives Congress the power to demand an end to military actions.

While the House likely won't vote on the measure, the bipartisan vote is a major rebuke to Saudi Arabia, long a key U.S. ally.

Few things in life are more personal or emotional than the death of a parent. For the family of George H.W. Bush this past week, that experience was fodder for wall-to-wall TV news coverage and the front page of every newspaper.

As the patriarch of the Bush family was laid to rest, the ceremonies served as a glaring example of how the families of presidents — and presidential candidates — sign away their privacy at the start of a campaign.

How will the Trump administration get along with Democrats when the opposition party holds subpoena, investigation and budget-setting power come January?

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke offered a preview Friday afternoon, responding to criticism from the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee by insinuating on Twitter that Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva is a drunk.

Grijalva is likely to chair the committee, which oversees Interior, when Democrats take control of the House at the beginning of next year's congressional session.

House Democrats nominated Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as the next speaker of the House. If approved by the full House, Pelosi would again wield the gavel in January — a dozen years after she became the first female speaker in 2007.

The vote was 203 voting for Pelosi, 32 opposing her and three members leaving their ballot blank. One member was absent.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mississippi Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has held on to her seat after a closer-than-expected runoff election. It was close enough that President Trump traveled to the state twice to stump for her.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Things may have changed, to borrow a phrase from the NPR Politics Podcast, by the time you finished digesting your turkey.

While most people try to take a break from the daily headlines during Thanksgiving, the political news often doesn't stop. That was especially true this year, as President Trump veered from grievance to grievance, the federal government published a report warning of the devastating consequences of climate change and U.S. border agents fired tear gas at migrants trying to force their way across the border with Mexico, among other major stories.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

The Democrats organizing an effort to block Nancy Pelosi from retaking the House speaker's gavel have finally gone public.

Eleven House Democrats and five incoming freshmen have signed a letter promising to vote against Pelosi in Democrats' internal caucus leadership vote as well as on the House floor in January.

The small group of Democrats working to block Nancy Pelosi from becoming House speaker next year insists its ranks are growing.

But a week after the effort began, the anti-Pelosi forces still don't have a candidate to run against Pelosi, and still haven't made public their list of members and incoming members committed to voting against the longtime Democratic leader.

The holiday dinner conversations are going to be intense in several high-profile Democratic households in the coming weeks, as potential candidates near decisions on whether to run for president in 2020.

Even as their staffs and political advisers have already begun scouting out office space, interviewing potential aides, and plotting out strategy for the 2020 presidential election, most haven't completely made up their minds about entering what's expected to be one of the most crowded primary contests in history.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN this week she's "100 percent confident" she'll be the next speaker of the House.

But a group of about 10 House Democrats is plotting to block Pelosi from returning to the speakership. The group, which includes Pelosi critics like Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Tim Ryan of Ohio and Kathleen Rice of New York among others, held its first meeting Wednesday night, according to congressional sources.

Progressive superstars like Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and Stacey Abrams all either lost or are trailing extremely close races in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders insists Democrats' takeover of the House of Representatives and other key wins are a vindication of the progressive posture he's long advocated for.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

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