Susan Davis | Michigan Radio
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Susan Davis

Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. 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.

Washington is racing to complete a fifth round of legislation to address the ongoing, and still surging, coronavirus pandemic in the next three weeks. The two parties and the White House are at odds over what the major pillars of the legislation should include and how much it should cost.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants to get a bill to President Trump by Aug. 7 when Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the rest of the summer — a time when lawmakers traditionally hit the campaign trail in an election year.

House lawmakers on Friday approved a Democratic proposal to provide $3 trillion in coronavirus relief that would include a new wave of help for state and local governments, workers and families.

The House voted 208 to 199 — largely along party lines — to pass the measure. The size of the bill represents the biggest ever proposed and it includes another round of direct cash payments to Americans, extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, and adds hazard pay for front-line workers. It also expands virus-testing efforts, contact tracing and treatment.

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.

The first competitive congressional race of the coronavirus era takes place Tuesday in Southern California, where Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith are vying to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned last year because of a personal scandal.

The winner will serve out Hill's current term through November, when the same two candidates will be on the ballot again for a full two-year term.

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.

The coronavirus pandemic and related economic tailspin is expected to be the top issue that will determine how Americans vote this November, according to top party strategists working on 2020 races.

"We all know that both the health crisis of coronavirus and the economic impact that's followed will likely be the most dominant issue, perhaps the only issue, that voters will be thinking about when deciding who to support in the fall elections," Steven Law told NPR. Law runs the Senate Leadership Fund, the top Republican super PAC aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats will push to include a new hazard pay program for frontline workers in the coronavirus pandemic in the next legislative vehicle that passes Congress in response to the crisis.

"We are asking these workers to take great risks and we should reward them for it," Schumer told reporters Tuesday on a conference call.

The Democratic proposal has two main components: up to a $25,000 pay increase for essential workers, and a one-time $15,000 incentive to help recruit new health care workers during the pandemic.

Multiple U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the solvency of a recently enacted $350 billion emergency lending program for small businesses, calling for Congress to pass another wave of funding as soon as this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get the Senate to approve, without objection, another influx of cash on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is aggressively advocating for a second wave of legislation on top of the recently enacted $2 trillion rescue package to confront the coronavirus pandemic, but her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is advocating for a more cautious wait-and-see approach.

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."

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.

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 7:48 p.m. ET

After months of expressing caution on a push for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump Tuesday.

"The president must be held accountable," Pelosi said. "No one is above the law."

The landmark move comes after controversy over a phone call Trump had with the newly elected Ukrainian leader in July and reporting that the president pressured him to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

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.