Susan Davis | WYPR

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.

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell want to move swiftly to confirm the justice to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy before the court reconvenes on October 1.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he is canceling the annual August recess to deal with a legislative backlog he blamed on the chamber's Democratic minority.

"Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president's nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled," McConnell said in a statement that made official a decision that had been anticipated for weeks.

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week to confront an unplanned and unpredictable immigration debate. Republicans and Democrats alike believe the outcome could be a decisive factor for voters in elections this November that will determine control of Congress.

A divided House GOP Conference will hold a closed-door session on Thursday to build a strategy around immigration legislation scheduled for the floor the third week of June — a deal promised to the rank-and-file by reluctant GOP leaders before the Memorial Day break.

At a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged House Republicans to resist the urge to sign on to a discharge petition to force the House to vote on contentious immigration legislation.

Even 2,000 miles away from Washington, D.C., Sen. John McCain can still make news.

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The final Indiana Senate Republican debate ahead of Tuesday's primary election was not exactly a battle of ideas because, as the moderator noted at the top, there isn't much ideological diversity between the three candidates in the race.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez escaped federal criminal prosecution. But he couldn't escape the judgment of his Senate colleagues.

The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee unanimously issued a rare rebuke on Thursday, formally admonishing the senator for his conduct over a six-year period with his longtime friend and political ally Dr. Salomon Melgen.

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.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

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.

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.

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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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 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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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.

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Updated at 11:16 p.m. ET

A partial government shutdown now looks inevitable after the Senate lacks the votes on a stopgap spending bill late Friday night.

The vote was 50-48 in favor of the measure with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., yet to vote.

President Trump surprised lawmakers at the White House last week when he used a live, televised meeting ostensibly about immigration legislation to voice his support for earmarks.

"Maybe you should start thinking about going back to a form of earmarks," Trump said, laying out a familiar — but hotly contested — argument that when earmarks were in fashion, Washington worked better. "Maybe that brings people together. In our system right now, the way it is set up, will never bring people together."

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

The longest-serving Republican senator in American history is finally ready to call it quits.

Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch announced on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in 2018 and will leave the Senate at the end of his current term, after 42 years in his seat.

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