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.

For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 2018 could be defined by one word: judges.

More than any other issue or cause in this midterm election year, the Kentucky Republican says he is focusing the chamber's agenda on confirming as many of President Trump's lifetime judicial appointments as possible before the end of the year.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

House GOP leaders promised Republicans Tuesday they will bring up immigration legislation in June, even though that pledge threatens to divide the party and undermine the staying power of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"What we're trying to do is find where the consensus sweet spot is," Ryan told reporters. "It's a very difficult issue. Immigration is an issue that has a lot of passionate positions, a lot of passionate thoughts, and our members come from various different perspectives."

At a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged House Republicans to resist the urge to sign on to a discharge petition to force the House to vote on contentious immigration legislation.

Even 2,000 miles away from Washington, D.C., Sen. John McCain can still make news.

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The final Indiana Senate Republican debate ahead of Tuesday's primary election was not exactly a battle of ideas because, as the moderator noted at the top, there isn't much ideological diversity between the three candidates in the race.

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An ongoing Capitol drama over the fate of the House chaplain ended as quickly as it had escalated on Thursday, with the Rev. Patrick Conroy rescinding his resignation and Speaker Paul Ryan accepting his decision.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez escaped federal criminal prosecution. But he couldn't escape the judgment of his Senate colleagues.

The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee unanimously issued a rare rebuke on Thursday, formally admonishing the senator for his conduct over a six-year period with his longtime friend and political ally Dr. Salomon Melgen.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Mike Pompeo is on track to become secretary of state after a key Republican senator gave a last-minute endorsement of the CIA director.

The secretary of state-designate's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday night on a party-line vote. The vote was 10 Republicans for Pompeo, nine Democrats against. One Democrat voted present.

Politics isn't always red or blue. Lately, it has been green.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to introduce legislation on Friday to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, adding a high-profile advocate in the effort to decriminalize, legalize and normalize marijuana use in America.

Schumer's legislation would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under a 1970 law that classifies marijuana as dangerous as heroin for legal and regulatory purposes.

There are about 19,000 staffers working on Capitol Hill for the 535 House and Senate lawmakers who so often see to it that Washington, D.C., doesn't work as well as they do.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan says he will not seek re-election in the fall.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election and will retire in January.

"You all know I did not seek this job," Ryan said, addressing reporters. "I took it reluctantly. ... I have no regrets."

Ryan, 48, cited wanting to be around his adolescent children more often.

As the House prepares to vote this week on a largely symbolic balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, its own budget watchdog delivered a stark reality check Monday that forecasts the return of $1 trillion-plus annual deficits and a ballooning public debt that will approach $29 trillion by the end of the next decade.

The latest flash point in the nation's gun debate sent millions of Americans marching into the streets over the weekend in cities like Denver to call for stricter gun laws.

"I've never, until this year I haven't contributed a dime in my entire life to anybody's campaign. This year? I've given more money than I ever thought I would do," said David Frieder, a retiree who attended Saturday's gun march in downtown Denver.

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Congress has the power to challenge President Trump on new tariffs, but it's unlikely lawmakers will act, even though nearly all congressional Republicans oppose the president's trade policy because they believe it will harm the U.S. economy.

"It's a conundrum, really, because you do not want 100 senators and our counterparts in the House doing basically any trade initiative. That's why we give that (power) to the executive," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

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Top members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus told reporters they are closely watching how House Speaker Paul Ryan navigates the immigration debate as a test of whether they can continue to support him as their leader.

"It is the defining moment for this speaker," said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. "If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him but it will also have consequences for the rest of the Republican Party."

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has been uncharacteristically mum this week when asked to comment on reports that he may change his mind about retiring this year.

"I don't really have anything to say," Corker told NPR Monday evening. But on Tuesday evening a spokeswoman suggested Corker could be rethinking his decision to retire.

Updated at 3:06 p.m.

Republicans are gathered at the storied Greenbrier Resort — home to a Cold War-era bunker once meant to house Congress in the event of a nuclear attack — to plot the party's legislative agenda for 2018 and strategize for what could be a bruising midterm election.

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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.

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.

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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Doug Jones' victory is not only turning Alabama politics upside-down. It also adds a new challenge for Republicans in Washington. His win narrows the closely divided Senate down to a 51 to 49 GOP majority.

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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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.

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