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.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Mike Pompeo is on track to become secretary of state after a key Republican senator gave a last-minute endorsement of the CIA director.

The secretary of state-designate's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday night on a party-line vote. The vote was 10 Republicans for Pompeo, nine Democrats against. One Democrat voted present.

Politics isn't always red or blue. Lately, it has been green.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to introduce legislation on Friday to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, adding a high-profile advocate in the effort to decriminalize, legalize and normalize marijuana use in America.

Schumer's legislation would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under a 1970 law that classifies marijuana as dangerous as heroin for legal and regulatory purposes.

There are about 19,000 staffers working on Capitol Hill for the 535 House and Senate lawmakers who so often see to it that Washington, D.C., doesn't work as well as they do.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan says he will not seek re-election in the fall.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election and will retire in January.

"You all know I did not seek this job," Ryan said, addressing reporters. "I took it reluctantly. ... I have no regrets."

Ryan, 48, cited wanting to be around his adolescent children more often.

As the House prepares to vote this week on a largely symbolic balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, its own budget watchdog delivered a stark reality check Monday that forecasts the return of $1 trillion-plus annual deficits and a ballooning public debt that will approach $29 trillion by the end of the next decade.

The latest flash point in the nation's gun debate sent millions of Americans marching into the streets over the weekend in cities like Denver to call for stricter gun laws.

"I've never, until this year I haven't contributed a dime in my entire life to anybody's campaign. This year? I've given more money than I ever thought I would do," said David Frieder, a retiree who attended Saturday's gun march in downtown Denver.

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Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

Top Republican lawmakers do not support legislation aimed at protecting Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation from White House interference, insisting that it is unnecessary.

"The special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday. "I am confident that he'll be able to do that. I have received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration."

Marcy Kaptur didn't plan for this.

First elected in 1982, the Ohio Democrat didn't set out to become the longest-serving woman in House history.

"The reasons that I ran, to change certain practices and policies, [I thought] could be done much more quickly," she said in an interview with NPR. On Sunday, Kaptur becomes the longest-serving woman ever to serve in the chamber with a tenure that spans 35 years, two months and 15 days.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Congress has the power to challenge President Trump on new tariffs, but it's unlikely lawmakers will act, even though nearly all congressional Republicans oppose the president's trade policy because they believe it will harm the U.S. economy.

"It's a conundrum, really, because you do not want 100 senators and our counterparts in the House doing basically any trade initiative. That's why we give that (power) to the executive," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

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Fears of economic and political backlash are motivating senior congressional Republicans to move forward this week with public and private lobbying efforts aimed at getting President Trump to change his mind about tariffs he intends to levy on steel and aluminium imports.

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Top members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus told reporters they are closely watching how House Speaker Paul Ryan navigates the immigration debate as a test of whether they can continue to support him as their leader.

"It is the defining moment for this speaker," said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. "If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him but it will also have consequences for the rest of the Republican Party."

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Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has been uncharacteristically mum this week when asked to comment on reports that he may change his mind about retiring this year.

"I don't really have anything to say," Corker told NPR Monday evening. But on Tuesday evening a spokeswoman suggested Corker could be rethinking his decision to retire.

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Months of false starts, political battles and missed deadlines in Congress culminated overnight with one more missed deadline.

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Updated at 3:06 p.m.

Republicans are gathered at the storied Greenbrier Resort — home to a Cold War-era bunker once meant to house Congress in the event of a nuclear attack — to plot the party's legislative agenda for 2018 and strategize for what could be a bruising midterm election.

In the aftermath of the January 2011 shooting attack against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., lawmakers used the State of the Union that month to send a message to the nation: What unites us is greater than what divides us. Lawmakers voluntarily scrambled the partisan seating chart in the U.S. House chamber that year to bring Republicans and Democrats together.

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President Trump will deliver his first official State of the Union address tonight. Republicans like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy say it should not be about politics.

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Updated at 11 p.m. ET

In recent weeks, President Trump has told lawmakers he would sign any immigration measure that Congress sent him but also flatly rejected a draft of a deal negotiated by six senators.

Now, the White House is laying out the specific elements it wants to see from a bill offering permanent protection for people in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Trump administration says it is willing to offer a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people who are in the country illegally, if lawmakers will spend $25 billion on a border wall and make changes to the legal immigration system.

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And we're going to turn now to NPR's congressional correspondent Susan Davis on Capitol Hill. Susan, thanks so much for being with us.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Scott.

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