Claudia Grisales

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.

Before joining NPR in June 2019, she was a Capitol Hill reporter covering military affairs for Stars and Stripes. She also covered breaking news involving fallen service members and the Trump administration's relationship with the military. She also investigated service members who have undergone toxic exposures, such as the atomic veterans who participated nuclear bomb testing and subsequent cleanup operations.

Prior to Stars and Stripes, Grisales was an award-winning reporter at the daily newspaper in Central Texas, the Austin American-Statesman, for 16 years. There, she covered the intersection of business news and regulation, energy issues and public safety. She also conducted a years-long probe that uncovered systemic abuses and corruption at Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the largest member-owned utility in the country. The investigation led to the ousting of more than a dozen executives, state and U.S. congressional hearings and criminal convictions for two of the co-op's top leaders.

Grisales is originally from Chicago and is an alum of the University of Houston, the University of Texas and Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she earned a master's degree in journalism.

For the first time since President Trump lost his bid for reelection, Vice President Pence appeared on the campaign trail on Friday to boost Senate Republicans at a pair of rallies north of Atlanta.

Two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia remain to be decided in runoff races on Jan. 5. The outcome will dictate which party will run the upper chamber come next year.

And with Trump and Pence still declining to concede their loss, GOP has been left with a tricky argument in Georgia for a high-stakes Senate battle as they try to navigate the president's false claims.

In the two weeks since it became clear that President Trump lost the election to Joe Biden — a period bookended by befuddling press conferences from his longtime lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — the president has made it clear that he will spend his remaining days in the White House in the same way he spent much of his term in office: fighting.

Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has tested positive for the coronavirus, he confirmed in a Tuesday tweet, hours after the Republican lawmaker told the public he had been exposed to the virus.

The 87-year-old wrote on Twitter that he was "feeling good" and expected to continue his Senate duties from home while he isolated and recovered.

Judy Shelton's nomination as a member of the Federal Reserve Board is stalled.

The Senate failed to advance President Trump's controversial pick to the powerful central bank on Tuesday after Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine joined the Senate's Democrats in blocking Shelton's appointment.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has been reelected to his post by his colleagues to lead a larger GOP conference in the new session of Congress next year.

Other top House leaders were also reelected to their current posts, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as chair of the House Republican Conference.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday evening joined a small group of GOP senators who have referred to Joe Biden as president-elect after the presidential race was called for him more than a week ago.

Rubio joins a club of only four other Republican senators who have acknowledged Biden's win. They are Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who have all also congratulated Biden for clinching the White House.

The House of Representatives will return Monday to a post-election session with a few major but controversial items to address, including leadership elections, how to deal with more coronavirus relief and a must-pass spending bill.

To help, they'll have a new, widespread testing program to track the coronavirus among members, staffers and workers. The plan is a first for any chamber of Congress eight months into the pandemic, and it comes as cases are spiking across the country and in Washington.

Updated on Friday at 6:20 p.m. ET

Although many Senate Republicans are still resisting recognition of President-elect Joe Biden's election win, they are signaling support for the former vice president to receive intelligence briefings as part of the transition process.

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Updated at 10:59 p.m. ET

William Barr, the nation's attorney general and a Trump ally, on Monday wrote a memo authorizing federal prosecutors to pursue any "substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities." He specified that such reviews can be conducted only if there are "clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State."

President-elect Joe Biden said Friday, as ballots were still being tabulated in states across the country, that voters had spoken loudly to embrace the policies and principles he campaigned on.

"They have given us a mandate for action on COVID and the economy and climate change and systemic racism," Biden said in a late-night speech in Wilmington, Del. "They made it clear they want the country to come together — not pull apart."

Control of the Senate may hinge on Georgia's two runoff races in January as no candidate in either contest has reached a required 50% threshold in votes to win outright.

That means Georgia, which is also still counting ballots in a neck-and-neck presidential race expected to go to a recount, is shaping up to be ground zero for whether Congress will be divided again next year.

Updated at 10:26 p.m. ET

The second of two Georgia Senate races advancing to a runoff, according to The Associated Press, likely pushing Democrats' hopes of a possible majority in the U.S. Senate back to January.

Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue holds just under 50% of the vote in the state, closely trailed by Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

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Day 2 of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is underway. Today started with the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, expressing his support for Barrett.

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Today is Day 2 of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Yesterday, Republican senators focused on Barrett's many accomplishments. Here's Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham.

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The Republican-controlled Senate returns this month in a high-stakes gamble: Three members tested positive for the coronavirus as the Senate is moving full steam ahead to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court.

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Updated on Wednesday at 9:57 a.m. ET

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who tested positive for the coronavirus following a White House event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, returned to the Capitol on Monday.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to frame Judge Amy Coney Barrett as a threat to the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights in their questioning of the Supreme Court Justice nominee this week.

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey jolted a new political fight for 2022, announcing Monday that he'll retire from the Senate at the end of his current term and won't mount a bid to become the state's next governor.

Updated at 1:21 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that he'll seek to obtain a consent agreement to delay the return of Senate from Monday to Oct. 19 in the wake of three GOP senators testing positive for the coronavirus. In a statement, McConnell said the Senate Judiciary Committee's work can continue on Oct. 12 with the confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

Top congressional leaders are looking at whether it's time to install a widespread coronavirus testing program on Capitol Hill in the wake of positive tests for President Trump and now two Republican senators — Mike Lee, R-Utah, Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

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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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