Claudia Grisales | WGLT

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.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is not on board with how his Republican governor has let the Lone Star State reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott let Texas' stay-at-home orders expire last month, and businesses resumed their operations with limited capacity.

With the state's caseload on the rise, Castro said it's all happening too soon.

Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

House Democrats are moving full steam ahead with legislation to provide a new wave of coronavirus relief at a price tag of more than $3 trillion, with plans to call the full House back on Friday to approve it.

Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET

Though the coronavirus remains a serious threat in Washington, D.C., U.S. senators return to the Capitol from their home states on Monday, more than five weeks after their last formal gathering and roll call votes.

Updated at on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday signed Congress' latest coronavirus economic relief package, which includes additional aid to small businesses and hospitals.

The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House on Thursday — 388-5, with one lawmaker voting present.

The five lawmakers who voted against the package included one Democrat — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — and four Republicans — Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jody Hice of Georgia, Ken Buck of Colorado and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

In the face of Republican opposition, House Democrats have backed off plans to consider unprecedented rule changes to allow members to vote and hold hearings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The Senate passed a new coronavirus relief bill. Almost half a trillion dollars is set to go to small businesses to hospitals and to testing. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The White House and congressional leaders could be nearing an agreement on a new wave of coronavirus relief funding.

Negotiations have been ongoing to replenish popular programs created as part of a $2 trillion response package passed last month.

House Democrats are considering proxy voting as a new way to avoid large gatherings in the lower chamber during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presented the plan to Democrats during a caucus call on Thursday, suggesting it was the best low-tech option at this time.

The proposal would allow members to vote on behalf of colleagues who aren't able to travel to Washington, D.C. It would also allow those votes to count towards a quorum — a procedural move which is sometimes requested by members hoping to block a measure.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the daily work of Congress to a halt.

House and Senate leaders delayed bringing back members for several weeks because of the outbreak and as public health guidelines recommended continued social distancing.

A new U.S. senator from Georgia has come under fire for selling $20 million in stock after a briefing in the weeks building up to the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed to her seat against President Trump's wishes. Now, just three months into the appointment, Loeffler is fighting for her political life ahead of elections in November.

Trump and his allies had lobbied heavily for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to get the vacant seat, but Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler.

The children's voices on the phone line were hesitant, but they were looking for answers.

"Why did we switch to remote learning?"

"When are we going to go back to school?"

"They're opening up an emergency hospital here, will that bring more coronavirus cases to my area?"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House members are in the information-gathering stage of a fourth coronavirus response bill, but it could be several weeks before the lower chamber takes up the legislation.

Pelosi also said she would not be tested for the virus, even after a member who attended events with her on Friday is presumed to have a coronavirus infection.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

As the number of lawmakers who have tested positive for the coronavirus grows, prompting many of their colleagues to self-quarantine, some members are pushing to move to remote voting, which would break a longtime institutional tradition of voting in person.

Updated at 7:20 a.m. ET

After a tense day on the Senate floor that included leaders trading barbs over who is to blame for failing to advance a new coronavirus response bill, the top Senate Democrat said late Monday night that he was "very, very close" to an agreement with the White House on a deal for a third wave of emergency funding that could go well past $1 trillion.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced legislation on Thursday to address the economic impact of the coronavirus. This is the third legislative package to deal with the outbreak.

The proposal was drafted by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration. The bill still needs to be negotiated with Senate Democrats, which McConnell said would happen Friday. Already some Democrats were criticizing the plan as too focused on help for corporations and were calling for major changes.

Updated at 8:34 p.m. ET

President Trump signed the latest coronavirus aid package into law Wednesday evening.

The Senate approved the new round of emergency funding earlier Wednesday.

Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is asking Congress for roughly $1 trillion in new economic relief as lawmakers begin work on the next phase of coronavirus relief efforts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that he worked with the president on the economic package. Their discussions included payments to small businesses, loan guarantees for industries like airlines and hotels, and a stimulus package for workers.

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET

The Senate reconvened Monday afternoon with a growing sense of urgency to act on pending legislation, and a growing realization that Congress will have to take dramatic, ongoing action to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to the nation.

"The Senate is committed to meeting these uncertain times with bold and bipartisan solutions," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the floor Monday. "It's what we're going to keep doing in the days and weeks ahead."

Updated at 10:57 p.m. ET

These are no ordinary times for Congress.

There are fewer handshakes. Purell hand sanitizer dispensers are posted outside the Senate and House chambers. Staffers are preparing plans to work remotely if there's a sudden closure.

Welcome to a post-coronavirus world for the U.S. Capitol as it weighs developments from the spreading outbreak against its daily operations.

Updated on March 5 at 8:15 p.m. ET

President Trump is expected to sign an $8 billion emergency spending package into law Friday, responding to growing cases linked to the coronavirus illness domestically and abroad.

Visiting Olympia, Wash. on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence praised Congress' bipartisan response, and said some of the funds would be available for state and local response.

Some of the most senior government officials assigned to the coronavirus crisis briefed House lawmakers Friday, and assured them that the Trump administration is not impeding their work or their communications with the public.

Representatives on both sides of the aisle have lauded some aspects of the outbreak response, while voicing frustration with others.

Congressional leaders on Thursday said lawmakers are nearing a bipartisan plan to issue significant emergency funding to address rising fears sparked by the spread of coronavirus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she had spoken with Vice President Mike Pence, who was tasked to lead the administration's response to the outbreak. She added that lawmakers were nearing a plan to fund the U.S. response.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Here in Washington today, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to make lynching a federal hate crime. That is something that supporters say has been tried nearly 200 times before in Congress, never successfully.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET

The Senate approved a bipartisan resolution to curb the president's war powers when it comes to Iran — a rare rebuke and effort to reassert Congress' authority,

The vote was 55-45 — with eight Republicans joining all Democrats to pass the measure. The tally fell far short of the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.

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