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Kelsey Snell

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Democrats who hoped that narrow control in Washington, D.C., would lead to a rush of votes to approve new progressive policies are facing a major roadblock — moderates in their own party.

Moderate Senate Democrats from Republican-leaning states and swing states are flexing the power that comes along with a 50-50 Senate, where every vote has the potential to make or break a bill.

Updated June 10, 2021 at 7:53 PM ET

A bipartisan group of 10 U.S. senators says they agree on a "framework" for a deal on an infrastructure package, but the members did not release any details and top leaders from both parties have been mostly silent on the development.

According to two sources familiar with the negotiations, the agreement is focused on "core, physical infrastructure." The proposal would cost $1.2 trillion over eight years and include $579 billion in new spending.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Updated June 4, 2021 at 5:59 PM ET

The White House says a new offer on an infrastructure package from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is insufficient as the search for middle ground between President Biden and Republicans remains elusive.

Biden and Capito spoke on the phone Friday, the latest in a series of talks between the two. Capito is leading the group of GOP senators working with the White House on a potential agreement, and is tasked by her leaders to head the negotiations.

President Biden and Senate Republicans have agreed to continue negotiations on an infrastructure spending plan despite an ongoing split over the scope of the proposal and how to pay for it.

Biden hosted Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the GOP's lead negotiator on infrastructure, at the White House on Wednesday, and the pair agreed to reconvene Friday as the window for a bipartisan deal appears to be narrowing.

The Biden administration aims to have an agreement this summer, and some fellow Democrats are urging the president to wrap up bipartisan talks.

Updated May 27, 2021 at 12:12 PM ET

A group of Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure proposal to counter President Biden's plan for a nearly $2 trillion bill.

Democrats have struggled in Florida.

Right now they hold just one statewide office — the agriculture commissioner — despite years of running candidates who come within narrow margins of a win.

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy from central Florida thinks she could be the one to change that trend in a potential run against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

"I am thinking very seriously about whether or not to run," Murphy said in an interview with NPR. "Florida deserves at least one senator who isn't focused on becoming president."

Democrats on the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday joined the faltering attempts across Washington to finding bipartisan agreement on elements of President Biden's sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure and stimulus plan.

But Democrats' plans to pay for that package — through a combination of tax increases for the richest Americans and a rise in the corporate taxes — has run squarely into Republican inflexibility on any rollback of the Trump tax cuts.

Congressional Democrats are further expanding the definition of infrastructure with a plan to provide paid leave and family benefits for the vast majority of Americans.

Updated April 22, 2021 at 2:05 PM ET

Senate Republicans have released a $568 billion infrastructure proposal to counter the more than $2 trillion package unveiled by President Biden early this month.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., are introducing legislation Wednesday that would make higher education free for most Americans by imposing new taxes on many Wall Street transactions.

After years of avoiding words such as redistribution and labels such as socialist, the core of the Democratic Party is embracing big government.

The coronavirus pandemic, a changing party makeup and a softening approach to debt and deficit have combined to give Democrats the space to embrace expensive policies and federal government expansion that would have been unheard of a few years ago. President Biden is leading the charge, and many Democrats, not just progressives, are eagerly jumping on board.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For years now, mainstream Democrats have avoided labels like socialist or words like redistribution, but some are now embracing a new era of big government. Here's NPR's Kelsey Snell.

A new decision from the U.S. Senate's nonpartisan parliamentarian means Democrats could advance more of President Biden's agenda without the support of Republicans.

Democrats working to dismantle the filibuster as a major impediment to their legislative agenda say the procedural maneuver is a threat to civil rights.

They are working to reframe the push to abolish the 60-vote procedural hurdle as a fight to protect those rights and follow through on promises Democrats made to voters — particularly Black voters — who helped deliver them the White House and control of the Senate.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is turning the committee best known for writing budgets that never become law into a vetting ground for progressive policy.

Sanders views his new jurisdiction as a broad mandate that "essentially in one way or another, touches the lives of every American." In keeping with that vision, Sanders will introduce a pair of bills on Thursday to restore the corporate tax rate to 35% and add a new progressive tax on the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

Senate Democrats are updating President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package to extend the current $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of September, adding an extra month of coverage for those who have lost jobs during the pandemic.

Senate Democrats are moving ahead with an updated version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes several tweaks intended to satisfy some moderates ahead of an expected final vote in the coming days.

The Senate voted 51-50 along party lines to advance the bill on Thursday. Vice President Harris voted with all Democrats to break the tie and move ahead with the lengthy debate and amendment process.

Senate Democrats have reached an agreement with the White House to tighten the limits on who can receive the next round of stimulus checks as part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, according to several Democratic sources.

The change comes after demands from moderate Democrats to make sure the latest round of checks is targeted at lower-income families. The full amount of the checks remains unchanged at $1,400, but the amount would phase out quickly for higher earners.

One of the key aims of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is to send money to people who were already at risk of falling behind on bills or slipping into poverty.

Democrats say the relief bill set to pass the House Friday includes several new programs intended to create a new social safety net that some in the party are comparing to a new, smaller version of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

Senate Democrats will not be forced to confront an internal political battle over increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 following a decision by the primary keeper of Senate rules.

The Senate parliamentarian ruled that a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 does not fit the complicated rules that govern budget bills in the Senate. House Democrats included the measure in a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is expected to be the first major legislative act for President Biden.

The House Budget Committee has approved legislation advancing President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, setting a path for intense debate in the Senate.

The legislation is set for a vote on the House floor at the end of the week. The Senate is then expected to take up the legislation and attempt to modify it to ensure it can pass procedural hurdles while still satisfying all 50 Senate Democrats.

Updated at 11:36 a.m. ET

House Democrats are renewing their investigation into the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus crisis, citing new documents and what they call evidence of political interference in the government response to the virus.

Updated at 6:58 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the sole article of impeachment for incitement to insurrection against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday and a trial against the Republican will begin the week of Feb. 8.

"The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump," Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor. "It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial."

For the first time since the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly denounced President Trump and his supporters for instigating the insurrection.

"The mob was fed lies," McConnell, R-Ky., said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.

"They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like."

Updated at 9 p.m. ET:

A day after an insurrection that overtook the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol's three top security officials resigned from their posts amid building pressure from lawmakers and others over failures that allowed the dramatic breach.

The House and Senate's top protocol officers and the U.S. Capitol Police chief are now all expected to be replaced following a series of resignations in the wake of the security failures.

Updated at 4:36 p.m. ET

Democrats took exceedingly narrow control of the Senate on Wednesday after winning both runoff elections in Georgia, granting them control of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2011.

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says a measure that would increase direct payments to many Americans has "no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate."

McConnell is moving ahead with a plan to avoid a public rift within the GOP over stimulus payments demanded by President Trump ahead of a critical runoff election in Georgia.

Congressional leaders returned to familiar ground Saturday, digging in on opposite sides of a stalemate over a coronavirus relief package they all say is badly needed to help millions of Americans struggling this holiday season.

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