Montana Public Radio

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.

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

The State of the Union this year may make for a seriously awkward moment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be seated over President Trump's left shoulder Tuesday, less than two months after the Democratic-controlled House impeached him — and just as the Republican-controlled Senate will be deciding whether to keep or remove him from office. (Trump is widely expected to be acquitted because a two-thirds majority is needed to remove a president, and there is no indication that 20 Republicans would side with the Democrats and independents who caucus with them.)

In a small room in one of the U.S. House office buildings on Friday, newly-elected members of Congress, along with their staff and press, were squished together for one of the last activities of congressional orientation: the office lottery.

The lottery is the answer to how incoming freshmen get to pick their office spaces. Since no member has seniority, it's all a game of chance.

Keeping control of the House would validate President Trump's governing style and mean full speed ahead for Hill Republicans to move his agenda. But if the GOP loses its majority it will need to to go on defense to protect Trump.

When the Democrats lost the House in 2010, they rapidly saw President Barack Obama's legislative agenda die.

Veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala doesn't think it's hyperbolic to say that "everything" is at stake for Democrats heading into Tuesday's elections.

"They always say it's the most important election of your life," he says, explaining that in the past two years, Democrats learned the consequences of being "completely shut out" as the GOP controlled both Congress and the White House.

If Democrats fail to take back the House and make significant gains at the state level, they'll be shut out again, without a say in legislation and judicial appointments.

Scroll through Orrin Hatch's Twitter feed and you'll see fairly routine tweets from the Republican senator from Utah: support for President Trump's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, and promotion of legislation Hatch backs.

But late Monday evening, Hatch's official Twitter account posted a tweet to Google, saying, "We might need to talk."

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

With little more than a week before President Trump announces his nominee to the highest court in the land, Trump sought to downplay some of his past comments about making opposition to legalized abortion a litmus test for his Supreme Court picks.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., remains hospitalized after multiple surgeries in the wake of Wednesday's shooting in Alexandria, Va., during a morning baseball practice for Republican members of Congress.

Scalise joins a long list of members of Congress shot while in office:

At the end of October, Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa., and released a plan for his first 100 days in office.

The day that everyone has been talking about is finally here. While millions of Americans have already cast their ballots in early-voting states, the majority of votes will be cast today.

NPR will have live results as polls close at 7 p.m. ET right here on NPR.org and on your local NPR station.

Pages