Deirdre Walsh

Updated April 8, 2021 at 9:57 AM ET

President Biden on Thursday will announce initial steps his administration plans to take on firearm safety, along with the nomination of a prominent gun safety advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The moves, which were previewed Wednesday evening by a senior administration official, come after recent high-profile mass shootings put added pressure on Biden to act on gun violence.

The Senate takes up President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package this week, following a largely party-line House vote early Saturday morning.

Democrats are using a process to avoid a Republican filibuster in the Senate that leaves them no room for error in the divided 50-50 chamber.

One week after a violent mob breached the U.S. Capitol, threatened lawmakers and forced evacuations, members returned to the House floor. What followed was an emotional, and often angry, debate about recrimination for the president who many argued incited the riot that resulted in five dead.

Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House lawmakers that Congress will reconvene Wednesday night to continue its constitutional duty to count and certify the electoral votes after pro-Trump protestors breached the Capitol and forced Capitol Police to evacuate both the House and Senate.

Updated at 10:27 p.m. ET

Agreement on a bipartisan coronavirus relief package remains elusive as top congressional leaders continue to negotiate and their efforts spilled into the weekend. While they've had a framework for days, they are struggling to close out several details, and a new issue emerged as a key sticking point.

Lawmakers from both parties insist they will not leave Washington for the holidays until they get a deal that wraps together an aid package and a broader spending deal.

Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET

After months of partisan standoff on Capitol Hill over the size and composition of another round of coronavirus relief, key signs of progress emerged as the House and Senate moved closer to a possible deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke by telephone Thursday afternoon — notable because the two top leaders hadn't spoken about legislation addressing the pandemic since the election.

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met for their second and final debate as tens of millions of Americans have already voted. A deeply divided country begins its final sprint to Election Day amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it's unclear how many voters have yet to make up their minds.

Here are five takeaways from the debate in Nashville, Tenn., a much different — and far more civil — night than the last encounter.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, sat for nearly 20 hours of questioning by 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee over two days. At the outset of the process, Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham acknowledged that her confirmation by the panel was all but guaranteed.

Updated at 12:57 p.m. ET

After a raucous debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden last week that was marked by constant interruptions, name-calling and a moderator unable to control the discussion, Wednesday night's vice presidential debate marked a return to a more traditional affair.

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his plans to move forward on President Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"The Senate will vote on this nomination this year," McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday on the Senate floor. He didn't say whether the vote would come before the election, or in a lame duck-session of Congress that occurs after the November election and before the start of a new session in 2021.

Follow live coverage of the RNC all week at NPR.org/conventions.

President Trump's campaign was forced to deal with sudden focus on two major news stories — mounting national unrest about racial injustice after another shooting of a Black man by police in Wisconsin, and Hurricane Laura, which is threatening "unsurvivable"storm surge — on the third night of the Republican National Convention.

The second night of the Republican National Convention presented a more positive message about a second Trump term after opening night's bleak picture of rising crime, unrest and extremist policies the GOP said the Democratic ticket had in store for the country.

Kamala Harris made history with her formal nomination as the first Black woman and person of Asian descent on a major party's national ticket.

The 55-year-old California senator used much of her first prime-time address as Joe Biden's running mate to tell her own story before turning her fire on President Trump.

Former President Barack Obama, who has mostly stayed on the sidelines as Democrats blasted President Trump's policies over the past 3 1/2 years, took off the gloves and questioned Trump's fitness for the job.

After former first lady Michelle Obama's foreboding address Monday about the consequences of a second term for President Trump, and her urgent appeal that people "vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it," the second night of the Democratic National Convention focused on building the case for how Biden would restore a country struggling in an economic and public health crisis.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

After days of delays, congressional Republicans rolled out their proposal for a fifth wave of pandemic relief aid on Monday, setting the stage for a showdown with Democrats, who say the two sides remain far apart.

The plan, which was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., focuses on new funding for schools and a new round of payments to Americans and allows for some additional wage replacement for unemployed workers.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday to remove statues honoring figures who were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War from the U.S. Capitol. The bill would also replace the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, author of the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denying freedom to an enslaved man, and replace it with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

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.

Congress returns from a summer recess Monday as many states experience spikes in confirmed coronavirus cases.

State governments face a precipitous drop in revenue, parents and teachers are debating how kids will return to school in the fall, and millions of unemployed workers face the prospect of their pandemic assistance running out at the end of the month.

President Trump on Wednesday vetoed a resolution that would have suppressed his ability to unilaterally take military action against Iran, calling the bipartisan bill an "insulting" attack on his presidential powers.

"This was a very insulting resolution, introduced by Democrats as part of a strategy to win an election on November 3 by dividing the Republican Party. The few Republicans who voted for it played right into their hands," the president said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the full Senate will not plan to return to the Capitol before May 4 — a delay from a planned return next Monday.

McConnell said the decision to change the schedule was made "following the advice of health experts" and in consultation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

McConnell, R-Ky., stressed that Congress continues to work remotely to respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Updated at 6:44 p.m. ET

Congress is working to get more money to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but negotiations over the size and scope of another round of emergency funding could delay quick action this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will create a bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis to be chaired by Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

The committee will focus on transparency, accountability and oversight and will have the power to issue subpoenas, she said on a call with reporters.

"This select committee is about the here and now," Pelosi said. "We have to work together to get through this, but as we do, we don't want to make more mistakes."

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

In the midst of Senate negotiations on a massive stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic, House Democrats have drafted their own counterproposal titled the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican bill before the Senate puts "corporations first, not workers and families."

Momentum and timing matter in politics — and both helped former Vice President Joe Biden mount a comeback against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who went into Super Tuesday with front-runner status after significant wins in early states.

After poor showings in some opening contests, Biden's campaign was seen by many as left for dead. On Tuesday he emerged as the chief alternative to Sanders.

The Democratic presidential race at one point had almost two dozen candidates, but now it's essentially a contest between two men representing dueling ideological poles of the party.

Updated at 8:48 p.m. ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada caucuses, according to an Associated Press projection.

The win gives Sanders victories in two of the first three states to weigh in on the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. His other win was in New Hampshire, and he also ended in a near-tie atop the still-muddled Iowa caucuses.

Updated at 10:20 a.m ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off a narrow victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, providing a jolt of energy to his front-of-the-pack status by holding off Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind.

President Trump's State of the Union address included some surprising moments — both emotional announcements and a blunt reaction from the speaker of the House — all playing out live before a prime-time audience.

Here are six of the highlights:

1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rips up a copy of the president's speech

President Trump took full advantage of the large television audience for his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to make his case for reelection in November, touting the strong economy and delighting Republicans in the room with a series of made-for-TV moments.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Wednesday

After a long day and night of dueling between the House managers calling for impeachment and attorneys for President Trump declaring the articles of impeachment "ridiculous," the Senate adopted a set of rules that will govern its impeachment trial, in which opening arguments will get underway Wednesday.

The resolution, put forward by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calls for each side to receive up to 24 hours to argue their case, spread over three days.

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