Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services by a narrow vote of 50-49.

Only one Republican — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — joined her Democratic colleagues in supporting the California attorney general's confirmation. Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii did not vote.

Updated March 15, 2021 at 5:11 PM ET

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy dubbed the surge in migrants showing up at the U.S. southern border, especially unaccompanied children, the "Biden border crisis" during a trip to Texas with a delegation of Republican lawmakers.

"It's more than a crisis. This is a human heartbreak," McCarthy said at a press conference on Monday after a tour of the El Paso Processing Center. "This crisis is created by the presidential policies of this new administration."

The Biden administration is mobilizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is known for responding to natural disasters and other crises, to support an effort over the next 90 days to process the growing number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S. southern border.

Updated March 11, 2021 at 2:39 PM ET

President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Thursday. The colossal bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, allocates money for vaccines, schools, small businesses and anti-poverty programs such as an expanded child tax credit that will mean new monthly payments to many parents.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt has announced he will not seek another term next year, making him the latest in a string of long-serving Senate Republicans to decline a reelection bid.

"There's still a lot to do and I look forward to every day this year and next year as I continue to work for you in the Senate," Blunt said in a video he shared on Twitter on Monday.

House Democrats are expected to pass the final version of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Tuesday, thus delivering on Democrats' campaign promises and cementing a major legislative victory for the Biden administration.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's draft proposal for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, calling it "partisan by design."

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.

President Biden's national security adviser said Sunday that the administration has concerns over the data China has provided to the World Health Organization regarding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We need a credible, open, transparent international investigation led by the World Health Organization," Jake Sullivan said in an interview with CBS' Face the Nation.

Congressional Democrats unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Thursday that includes setting up a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

In a highly personal attack, former President Donald Trump blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him an unfit leader of the Republican Party.

"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a lengthy statement Tuesday.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," he added.

Updated 5:43 p.m. ET

David Perdue has taken the first step on the road back to the U.S. Senate, filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to set up a potential political comeback in the Peach State in 2022.

"This was simply a necessary legal step that will allow me to continue to keep all options open," Perdue said of his paperwork in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans for Congress to establish an outside and independent commission to investigate "the facts and causes" related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

In a letter sent to her Democratic colleagues on Monday, the California Democrat said the commission will be modeled on the commission established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday

A majority of senators voted Saturday to convict former President Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

But the Democrats' side needed 17 Republicans to join them in order to reach the two-thirds threshold needed to convict.

Following former President Donald Trump's second acquittal in an impeachment trial, House Democratic managers are defending their decision not to forge ahead with seeking witnesses to help make their case.

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