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Susan Davis

To retake control of the House of Representatives, Republicans need to pick up just five seats in the 2022 midterm elections. It's Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney's job to make sure that doesn't happen.

The New York Democrat and chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told NPR that the party is hopeful that an ambitious, multitrillion-dollar economic agenda trumpeted by the Biden administration will resonate with voters when it's time to head to the polls next fall.

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

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

A bipartisan infrastructure package cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate last night after 17 Republicans, along with 50 Democrats, voted to begin debate on the bill. President Biden praised the vote.

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For Erwin Chemerinsky, this is a familiar feeling: Seven years ago, the dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law publicly called for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to retire from the Supreme Court because he reasoned too much was at stake in the 2016 elections.

Ginsburg didn't listen then, but he's hoping Justice Stephen Breyer will listen now — but Breyer has given no indication whether he plans to stay or go.

Updated June 16, 2021 at 2:30 PM ET

A group of Democratic Texas state lawmakers traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with congressional Democrats and Vice President Harris as part of a broader effort to pressure those in their party to pass far-reaching voting rights and election reform legislation.

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.

Updated May 14, 2021 at 3:59 PM ET

In 2018, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan sat next to his friend and ally Rep. Elise Stefanik and predicted a bright future for the New York Republican.

"This is the future of the Republican Party, the future of our country — people like Elise," Ryan told CBS.

Updated May 5, 2021 at 5:52 PM ET

Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, is doubling down on her condemnation of former President Donald Trump over his efforts to undermine the 2020 election and his role in inciting the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot as pressure mounts among top Republicans to remove her from her leadership role.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that Republican lawmakers have shared concerns with him over Rep. Liz Cheney's ability "to carry out the message," fueling speculation that the No. 3 House Republican may once again face an effort to oust her from party leadership.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A growing number of working-class voters were drawn to Donald Trump's Republican Party, and now top Republicans are searching for ways to keep those voters in the fold without Trump on the ballot.

The House Administration Committee is reviewing a challenge brought by defeated Iowa Democrat Rita Hart against freshman Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who won the race by just six votes.

Attorneys for the two candidates submitted initial legal briefs to the panel on Monday. In a terse 23-page brief, Miller-Meeks' counsel broadly denied Hart's claims and said the burden was on Hart to prove that a state-certified election should be overturned.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

The House approved with bipartisan support a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a popular 1994 law that protects and provides resources for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The measure passed 244-172.

As a senator, President Biden played a lead role in passing the landmark law, which he recently called "one of my proudest legislative achievements."

House Democrats are planning a strategic wave of party priority legislation on everything from guns to immigration, even as none — if any — of the bills is likely to pass a 50-50 Senate.

"We believe these bills enjoy overwhelming support among Democrats, Republicans and independents among the American people," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said this week. "Frankly, we don't know why that support, particularly in terms of Republican support, doesn't translate to the members of the House or the Senate."

When Congress reconvened the night of the Jan. 6 riot to finish certifying the Electoral College results, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., huddled with top Democrats on the House floor.

"I was on the dais with [Speaker Nancy Pelosi], and the speaker and I, and also [House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.], had a conversation about a bipartisan approach and a bipartisan commission, or a bicameral commission, to move things forward to find out what went wrong," he told NPR. "Unfortunately that bipartisan discussion didn't last too long."

Shortly after Election Day last year, veteran Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York joined three newly elected House Democrats in their call for incoming President Biden to use his executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt.

"I have spoken to him. I have told him how important it is. He is considering it," Schumer said at a New York press conference with then-Reps.-elect Mondaire Jones, Ritchie Torres and Jamaal Bowman. Months earlier, Schumer had backed Bowman's primary opponent, longtime incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel.

Updated at 4:58 p.m. ET

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., will preside over former President Donald Trump's trial in the Senate, a Senate source told NPR. Leahy, 80, is the president pro tempore of the Senate, a constitutional role given to the longest-serving lawmaker in the majority party. The president pro tempore is third in the line of presidential succession, after the vice president and House speaker.

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.

Congressional Democrats are planning a counterstrategy in anticipation of Republican efforts to object to the electoral vote counts in as many as six states.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will preside over any House debate and possible objections, and she has tapped four House Democrats to take the lead in responding to any Republican objections.

Last year, when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asked Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., to help lead a new committee charged with investigating how to modernize the U.S. House, Graves cynically turned him down.

"I had declined it with the — I guess it's a sad acceptance that this was just going to be another failed attempt by Congress to say they're going to do something that they ultimately don't do," said Graves, who retired from Congress in early October. "And boy, was I pleasantly surprised by the outcome and the work of this committee."

When earmarks were a regular feature of congressional business, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said Democrats and Republicans were able to cut more deals and pass more bills with bipartisan support.

"This used to be time where everybody was 'Hallelujah,' I mean Republicans, Democrats, dancing, kissing. This is the time to be saved," he recalled at a congressional hearing this year in regard to legislation such as the highway bill.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Just hours after a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers revealed a $908 billion legislative framework to try to break a months-long impasse on a new round of pandemic-related relief measures, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he's talking to administration officials about a separate coronavirus bill that President Trump will sign.

Democrats held on to the House majority in 2020, but in the weeks since, it's Republicans who have been celebrating the election results.

"Pundits doubted us. Polls were stacked against us, and I don't believe one person in this room believed we'd win one race," boasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., at his weekly news conference last week.

If 2008 was about hope and change for Democrats, 2020 is about anger and fear.

"I'm terrified, and if I were not as old as I am I'd be out on the streets," said Barbara Ravage, 75, a retiree who lives on Cape Cod. The pandemic has kept Ravage at home and away from volunteering in local politics this year, so instead she has given more money to local politicians and activist causes she supports. "There is no question I have traded rolling up my sleeves into reaching in to my wallet," she said.

While the outcome of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court is not in doubt, senators remain at odds over the decision to advance a nomination so close to a presidential election.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., once claimed that he would not support such a move, but he quickly reversed himself following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The House overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning QAnon, the fringe movement that promotes wide-ranging conspiracies about the U.S. government and yet has enjoyed a rising tide inside conservative politics in part because of tacit encouragement from President Trump.

The measure passed 371-18, with one GOP member voting present.

QAnon is a "collective delusion," said House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., "We all must call it what it is: a sick cult."

A stopgap funding bill to keep the government running through Dec. 11 passed the House 359-57 late Tuesday evening, with one lawmaker voting present. The bill was temporarily delayed over a heated dispute regarding farm aid.

The legislation still must be approved by the Senate and signed by President Trump, or the government faces another shutdown threat in eight days.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing more House Democrats for reelection in at least a decade, prompting pushback from some of its strongest GOP allies in Congress.

"It is hypocrisy that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would endorse these Democrats that are part of this socialist agenda that is driving this country out and is fighting this president," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., recently told Fox News.

Senate Republicans rallied around a $300 billion coronavirus aid package, but it fell short of the necessary 60-vote majority to advance, effectively killing the measure. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone Republican joining Senate Democrats to oppose it — Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., missed the vote.

As former Vice President Joe Biden prepares to give his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday night, Democratic lawmakers and strategists are preparing for what a Biden administration could look like, what the priorities would be and whether anything can actually get done in a Washington accustomed to doing very little.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lost the Senate GOP primary on Tuesday, delivering a victory of sorts for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy to hold on to his majority this November.

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