Susan Davis | WGLT

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.

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Members of Congress have not received a pay raise in a decade. So like most Americans, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., would like a raise.

"The cost of rent, childcare and other necessities has risen substantially in Washington and across the country in recent years, but members and staff pay and benefits have not kept pace with the private sector," Hoyer said last week at a hearing held by the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

Updated at 4:16 p.m. ET

The Republican-controlled Senate approved a resolution to terminate President Trump's national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, putting Congress on a path to its first veto confrontation with the Trump administration.

The speaker giveth, and the speaker taketh away.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has reclaimed office space her predecessor, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., awarded to Vice President Pence.

Republicans gave Pence, a former House member, a first-floor bonus office in the U.S. Capitol shortly after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017.

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Two lawmakers who engaged in a heated exchange that included accusations of racist behavior during a Wednesday committee hearing hugged it out on the House floor on Thursday.

"It was a very good conversation," Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters after. Meadows approached Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., on the House floor where they engaged in a brief conversation and embraced. "I just wanted her to know there is no animosity or hard feelings at all and she said the same and it was a very good moment."

The Democratic-led House approved by a 245-182 vote a resolution on Tuesday that would terminate President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border — a declaration he made to allow him to access funds to build a wall without congressional consent.

Only 13 Republicans joined Democrats to oppose the president, signaling that Congress will not ultimately have the veto-proof margin required to override Trump.

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Spending negotiators may have reached an agreement on an outline to avoid a government shutdown, but the final legislation is still incomplete less than three days before the Friday deadline.

Congressional negotiators are hurtling toward another deadline — Feb. 15 — to avoid a partial government shutdown. A bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers on the House and Senate appropriations committees are working to reach a deal to fund seven of the 12 outstanding annual bills to fund the federal government.

The controversy centers on just one of the funding measures for the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump waged the longest shutdown in U.S. history because the bill did not include enough money to help build his long-promised "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

One of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress has apologized for comments on social media widely condemned as anti-Semitic. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said she apologized "unequivocally" following a joint statement released by House Democratic leaders calling on her to do so.

"Anti-Semitism is real," Omar tweeted Monday afternoon, "and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes."

The most important political issues of the past year will be on display Tuesday night, not only in what President Trump says in his State of the Union address but in who will be in the audience.

Furloughed federal workers, Border Patrol agents, immigrants, school shooting survivors and the first inmate to benefit from a new criminal justice law will be among those to gather in the chamber of the U.S. House.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

A formal committee of congressional negotiators held its first, and maybe only, public meeting on Wednesday to kick off talks to reach a border security deal that President Trump will support.

Updated at 9 p.m. ET

After an at-times heated debate, the Senate on Thursday, as expected, failed to approve either of the competing measures that would have ended the standoff over border wall funding.

If nothing else, the votes seemed to spur a flurry of efforts to find a way to end the standoff. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced on the Senate floor after the measures failed that he spoke with President Trump about a three-week stopgap bill to reopen the government.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

Pressure mounted on Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King on Tuesday as a top House Republican leader called on him to resign over his recent comments to The New York Times on white supremacy.

"We do not support it or agree with it, and as I said I think he should find another line of work," House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told reporters Tuesday morning.

Updated at 2:11 a.m. ET Tuesday

House Republican leaders moved Monday to remove Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from two committees as a punishment for his recent comments in a New York Times interview where he was quoted questioning why the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" are considered offensive.

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Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

President Trump abruptly halted spending talks at the White House on Wednesday, after congressional Democrats again rejected his demand for a $5.7 billion border wall.

On Twitter, Trump dismissed the negotiations as a "total waste of time," as a partial government shutdown stretched into its 19th day. He added, "I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

Updated at 6:29 p.m. ET

The new House Democratic majority is promising to do something the party avoided when it last controlled the levers of power in Washington: pass gun legislation enhancing background check requirements for all gun purchases.

Top Democrats announced late Sunday a series of changes to House rules that could eliminate causes of major instability during the previous eight years of Republican rule in Congress.

"We are proposing historic changes that will modernize Congress, restore regular order and bring integrity back to this institution," said incoming House Rules Chairman James McGovern, D-Mass., in a statement explaining the changes.

Within sight of the U.S. Capitol dome, a new dome is about to open. It's on the playground of a new day care facility exclusively for U.S. House employees, and the playground is designed in part to look like a kid-sized National Mall.

"This is the only Washington Monument in D.C. that you can climb up," joked House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who helped inspire the playground's design.

The House of Representatives will vote on a funding bill to end the partial government shutdown on Thursday, the first day of the new Congress when Democrats will take control of the chamber and are expected to elect Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as speaker.

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President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell want to move swiftly to confirm the justice to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy before the court reconvenes on October 1.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he is canceling the annual August recess to deal with a legislative backlog he blamed on the chamber's Democratic minority.

"Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president's nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled," McConnell said in a statement that made official a decision that had been anticipated for weeks.

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week to confront an unplanned and unpredictable immigration debate. Republicans and Democrats alike believe the outcome could be a decisive factor for voters in elections this November that will determine control of Congress.

A divided House GOP Conference will hold a closed-door session on Thursday to build a strategy around immigration legislation scheduled for the floor the third week of June — a deal promised to the rank-and-file by reluctant GOP leaders before the Memorial Day break.

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