Susan Davis

Producer, The State of Things

There's one way Republicans on Capitol Hill say they know becoming the vice president-elect hasn't changed Mike Pence: He hasn't changed his phone number. Pence recently met with House Republicans in a closed-door session. "He said, 'Most of you have my cellphone,' which he found out after the election," laughed Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., one of Trump's earliest allies in Congress. "He wants to encourage us to continue to reach out to him," Barletta added. Pence's accessibility is a comfort to...

No matter who wins the presidential election on Tuesday, it's nearly certain Congress will be more narrowly divided come January. And with no clear mandate likely coming out of 2016, there is little reason to be overly optimistic that the next Congress can escape the cycle of unproductivity and polarization that has gripped Washington in recent years. The 115th Congress: Political Dynamics With little chance of a Democratic House takeover in the 2016 election, the two likeliest scenarios are:...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. The Republican National Committee is sticking with embattled GOP nominee Donald Trump even as House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday he would no longer defend his party's presidential nominee. Ryan told Republican members on a conference call this morning that he will instead focus on protecting the GOP's congressional majority in the final month of the campaign, according to someone on the call. The move comes after a wild weekend in the race for the White House that saw...

Former House Speaker John Boehner has parlayed one of his favorite pastimes into a lucrative new gig. The avid smoker is joining the board of tobacco giant, Reynolds American Inc. The Ohio Republican was the nation's highest-ranking smoker before he left office last October. Boehner currently smokes Camel brand cigarettes and has never indicated a desire to quit the cancer-causing habit. That's good news for Reynolds, where Boehner will now serve as a Class 2 director and serve on the board's...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Lawmakers return to Washington on Tuesday for what GOP party leaders are hoping will be an uneventful September for their party's most vulnerable members. "We want a clean entry and a clean exit," says one Senate GOP aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak candidly about internal deliberations. September's four-week legislative stretch is the last chance for congressional action before Election Day. There are only two must-pass items on the agenda: a short-term funding bill to keep...

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET. A softer-edged Donald Trump huddled with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in a hastily arranged meeting in Mexico City on Wednesday. Both men pledged a commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Trump said he had a "very substantive" conversation with Peña Nieto during which he reaffirmed the right of the U.S. to protect its borders and build a wall, but that his pledge to make Mexico pay for it didn't come up. "We didn't discuss that," Trump said....

Three big-name political insiders have been targets of the activist, outsider wings of their parties. And yet all three — Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida, as well as Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat — appear safe in their primary battles for re-election Tuesday. McCain has been holding off a challenger running to his right on immigration; Rubio is well ahead of a candidate fashioning himself in the mold of Donald Trump; and Wasserman Schultz...

At a recent campaign stop in Philadelphia, Senate Democratic candidate Katie McGinty faced a tough crowd: 4-year olds. "Hi! How's everybody doin'?" McGinty said, as she entered the Western Learning Center, an early childhood program for local families. McGinty stopped here Tuesday to tout her economic agenda with a small group of local parents, but first, it was story time. McGinty selected " King Bidgood's In The Bathtub ," the tale of a king who refuses to get out of the tub. And just as he...

Hillary Clinton's increasingly dominant lead in the presidential race is solidifying many Republicans' worst 2016 fears that Donald Trump will cost the party not only the White House but also control of the Senate. "The bottom is starting to fall out a little earlier than expected," says a top Senate GOP campaign aide who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of the race. "We started off with a very difficult map. No matter what, this was going to be a very difficult year."...

NPR was invited to observe two focus groups of swing voters from Ohio and Arizona on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. "Wal-Mart Moms" are identified by pollsters as women predominantly between the ages of 18 and 44, who have kids under 18 living at home and who shop at Wal-Mart stores at least once a month. In these groups, the women were identified only by their first names. The research was funded by Wal-Mart Corp. (The Walton Family Foundation, which Wal-Mart's creators established, meanwhile,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NzIFGNJ78Y President Obama dismissed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's comment this week that the election may be " rigged " this year. "Of course the election will not be rigged! What does that mean?" Obama said at a news conference at the Pentagon. "That's ridiculous. That doesn't make any sense." The president added Americans should not take Trump's musings on this seriously. "We do take seriously, as we always do," the president said, "our...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

While many pundits and political observers were quick to praise Hillary Clinton's pick of Tim Kaine as her running mate on Friday, the choice wasn't met with universal acclaim. One important group — progressives and backers of Clinton's former rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — were not as pleased with the selection of the Virginia senator who has cultivated a reputation of working across the aisle over the course of his political career. Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Reports of Marco Rubio's eagerness to leave the Senate may be greatly exaggerated. After weeks of private lobbying, the Florida Republican senator now says he is considering running again. He has until June 24, his state's filing deadline, to make up his mind. Rubio announced in April 2015 that he would not run for re-election to pursue his presidential bid. But his campaign never caught fire and he bowed out of the primaries after a disappointing finish in the Florida presidential primary....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=823GNH4Rczg One of the most famous magic tricks of all time would never have been possible without a certain Washington connection. "When I wanted to make the Statue of Liberty disappear, the Parks Department says, 'We're not really comfortable with you doing that,'" magician David Copperfield recalls with a laugh. "I went to the president and said, 'Would you mind? I want to do this as a lesson in freedom.'" With a little help from President Ronald Reagan in...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbk3nnI8YiA House Republicans kick off Tuesday a three-week roll out of a policy agenda that Speaker Paul Ryan says will outline what the party will do if they win the White House this November. The agenda, dubbed " A Better Way ," is Ryan's brainchild, a project that he negotiated as part of the deal that elevated him to House speaker last fall. " When I took this job back in October , one of the conditions in taking this job was that we put on paper what we...

Lawmakers: They're just like us! "Everyone's favorite parlor game right now in D.C. is who will be the vice presidential pick," Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., said at a briefing with reporters. Every four years, the guessing game around the "veepstakes" reaches fever pitch right around now, when the nominating conventions are just weeks away. Democratic lawmakers are rich in opinions on whom Hillary Clinton should tap as her running mate. "I think she needs...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyTcjAWHlLQ House Speaker Paul Ryan shot down reports Wednesday that he was on the verge of endorsing Donald Trump for president. "I don't know where all this came from. I haven't made a decision," Ryan told reporters. "I don't have a timeline in my mind and I have not made a decision and nothing's changed from that perspective." The speaker added that he and the expected GOP nominee were still have "productive conversations." Throughout the GOP presidential...

Donald Trump arrived in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to meet with his party's congressional leaders to hash out their differences and talk GOP unity ahead of what is likely to be a pitched general-election battle against Hillary Clinton . First up was a private meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan. The two arrived around 9 a.m. ET at the Republican National Committee in a session orchestrated by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Swarms of journalists, protesters and onlookers crowded around the...

If Republican Party delegates are looking for an alternative to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich, it won't be Paul Ryan. "I want to put this to rest once and for all," Ryan said of speculation that he could be chosen as the Republican presidential nominee this summer in a multiballot convention. "Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the Republican nomination. So let me speak directly to the delegates on this: If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe you...

Like so many Americans approaching retirement, Virginia Republican Rep. Scott Rigell dreams about spending a little more time on the water. "I have a little rowboat called Miss Nelly. She's 13 feet long, and there's not a motor on it. There's no radio on it. And I'm so looking forward to being on that rowboat," says Rigell. Rigell is retiring after just six years in Congress. He was one of the 87 Republicans who rode the Tea Party wave to a pivotal GOP takeover of the House. At the end of...

The top House Republican took aim at the nature of American politics in remarks viewed as a rebuke of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump and the tone of his campaign. "This has always been a tough business, and when passions flare, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn't accept ugliness as the norm," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a speech Wednesday on Capitol Hill. "Personalities come and go. But principles? Principles endure," Ryan added. The Wisconsin representative's...

Pages