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.

Updated on Monday at 2:15 p.m. ET

Howard Liebengood, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, died Saturday off duty, according to the force. His cause of death was suicide, an attorney for the family said on Monday.

Updated at 9:41 p.m. ET

Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey is the second Republican U.S. senator to call for President Trump's resignation in the wake of Wednesday's attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol, as House Democrats developed their plans to impeach the president.

Toomey on Sunday joined his Senate colleague Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, in calling for Trump to resign.

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET

With less than two weeks before he assumes office, President-elect Joe Biden is on track to have few, if any, Cabinet members confirmed on Inauguration Day, the first president to face such a personnel issue in recent history.

Biden said it was urgent for the Senate to confirm his Cabinet selections quickly during remarks Friday afternoon where he introduced the new members of his economic team.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have called for President Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment.

"I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment," Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday. "If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment."

As pro-Trump extremists clash with police and breach the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District," her statement reads.

The curfew will last until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

It does not apply to essential workers, including media with outlet-issued credentials.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered blistering remarks Wednesday afternoon against President Trump and his Republican colleagues who are objecting to the Electoral College results, saying of Congress: "We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids."

"We'll either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of an election actually accept the results or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, not only in victory, but in defeat," he said.

Democrat Raphael Warnock made history in one of Georgia's two Senate runoffs on Tuesday when he became the first Black person to be elected to the Senate from the state and the first Black Democratic senator from the South.

"Georgia certainly made me proud last night," Warnock told NPR's Noel King Wednesday morning. "They decided to send a kid who grew up in public housing to the United States Senate to represent the concerns of ordinary people."

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the 117th Congress is now getting under way as members take their oaths of office on Capitol Hill Sunday.

For many, the process will be familiar territory. But for most of the incoming lawmakers, it's the beginning of a brand new chapter.

Here's a look at that group of lawmakers and what their first few days will look like:

Pandemic looms large

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said Wednesday he plans to object during the Electoral College certification process when Congress convenes next week, a move that ensures a delay in the final step to mark President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

"I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws," Hawley said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Sunday night signed a massive coronavirus relief and spending package, relenting on a measure he had called a "disgrace" days earlier.

The legislation, which combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with government funding through September 2021, was passed by large majorities in both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21 — only to see Trump blindside legislators the next day and blast the bill.

In a statement Sunday night, Trump said lawmakers will pursue some of his sought-after changes.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

With millions of Americans waiting for desperately needed economic aid, a massive relief package remains in limbo as President Trump weighs whether to sign it into law.

Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden publicly received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as the death toll from the disease nears 320,000 in the United States.

Rolling up his sleeve at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., Biden told nurse practitioner Tabe Mase, "I'm ready!" and thanked her for her work with COVID-19 patients. "We owe you big, we really do," Biden said.

Updated at 11:52 p.m. ET

After months of partisan squabbling, congressional leaders have reached agreement on a nearly $900 billion coronavirus relief package.

"At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Sunday evening.

"As our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone," he added.

The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized two new rules that offer a win to President Trump in his personal crusade to roll back water efficiency standards on appliances like showerheads.

Trump frequently has bemoaned what he views as insufficient water pressure with newer appliances.

Updated at 9:37 a.m. ET

On Monday, 538 electors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will cast their votes for president, marking a key next step for Joe Biden as he gets closer to officially becoming the 46th president of the United States.

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