Kelsey Snell

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett apologized for using the term "sexual preference" when discussing the outcome of the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Barrett's comments were a response to a lengthy statement by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who detailed why many in the LGBTQ community may be concerned that the rights granted in Obergefell could be overturned if Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett avoided answering questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., about her view of the landmark case Roe v. Wade and constitutional protection of a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.

Feinstein asked Barrett about her opinions on abortion rights three times, and each time Barrett declined to give a legal assessment of the case. The first time, Feinstein asked if Barrett agreed with former Justice Antonin Scalia when he wrote in 1992 that Roe was wrongly decided.

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Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is set to give a glimpse of her judicial philosophy as her Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Updated at 12:52 p.m.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday that he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are discussing potential stand-alone bills for aid to airlines, small businesses and Americans. He said the Trump administration was "still willing to be engaged" on piecemeal aid bills, though it was not optimistic about a comprehensive aid bill.

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Updated 1 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump signed a short-term spending bill into law early Thursday, about an hour after current funding levels expired and averting a federal government shutdown.

Hours earlier the Senate voted 84-10 to approve the bill, which extends current funding levels and keeps the federal government open through Dec. 11

In theory, parts of the government were unfunded for about an hour, but the White House did not address the discrepancy in a brief statement following the signing.

House Democrats have released a $2.2 trillion coronavirus response package as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempt to revive long-stalled aid negotiations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is warning Democrats that they must win the majority, not just of the House of Representatives but a majority of each state delegation, in case the House is called upon to decide the election in January.

Republicans are rejecting a short-term spending bill released Monday after Democrats chose not to include federal farm assistance in the legislation which is meant to avert a government shutdown at the end of September.

There has been bipartisan agreement for weeks on the need for a basic spending stopgap. The disagreement over the bill released Monday means lawmakers have less than two weeks to reach an agreement before federal funding runs out.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will vote on President Trump's nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday of complications from cancer.

McConnell released a statement expressing condolences for Ginsburg and followed with a pledge to continue consideration of Trump's judicial nominees.

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President Trump and his top aides are joining the rash of criticism from conservative circles of a video showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inside a San Francisco hair salon earlier this week without a mask.

A clip of the video is circulating online, prompting backlash from Republicans who say it's inappropriate for Pelosi to criticize others for not wearing masks. Pelosi has defended the salon visit and said she was set up by the salon owner, but the incident has escalated already bitter partisan fighting over the federal coronavirus response.

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A central promise of last week's Republican National Convention was a pledge that President Trump would use a second term to build on elements of his first term, with very few updates and changes.

The four days of convention programming showed a Republican Party whose policies are bound to Trump. But GOP divisions over many of those policies prevented much of the 2016 Trump agenda from ever becoming law. And that dynamic was in place well before the coronavirus pandemic changed politics.

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NPR congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell has been listening to that hearing. Kelsey, good morning.

KELSEY SNELL, BYLINE: Good morning.

A pair of House Democrats are raising questions about whether a member of the U.S. Postal Service board of governors skirted typical practices to influence the hiring of Louis DeJoy as postmaster general.

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


California Rep. Karen Bass was a relative unknown on the national stage until just a few months ago. Now she is among the contenders to be Joe Biden's pick for his vice presidential running mate.

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Senate Republicans are rejecting a White House-backed plan to tuck money for the design and construction of a new FBI headquarters into the latest coronavirus relief bill despite including the funding in a GOP proposal released on Monday.

Republicans rapidly criticized the provision less than a day after the legislation was unveiled. Democrats have accused President Trump of including the money to prevent the existing FBI building, which is across from the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., from being sold and redeveloped into a hotel that might compete with the Trump property.

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