Kelsey Snell

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.

As coronavirus cases spike across the country, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, says he will participate in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Portman says he signed up for the clinical trial for a Janssen-Johnson & Johnson vaccine after receiving a briefing from a Cincinnati-based clinical trial consulting firm.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

House Democrats started this month hoping, and preparing, to gain seats in the election. Instead, their once-robust majority in the House has dwindled, and Democrats are on track to begin next year with the slimmest majority in decades.

Now members on the progressive left and Democratic Party moderates are again at odds over whose policies won in 2020 and how they should govern as a party.

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Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan has won reelection in Alaska, giving Republicans 50 seats in the Senate and leaving the balance of power in the chamber to be decided in a pair of January runoff elections in Georgia.

The Associated Press called the race for Sullivan more than a week after Election Day after votes trickled in from remote areas of the vast state. Sullivan defeated Al Gross, a surgeon and first-time candidate who raised significant money with the help of national Democrats who hoped a blue wave could help flip the state and the Senate.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 11

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has won reelection in North Carolina as Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham conceded on Tuesday. Democrats were hoping to oust Tillis and several other GOP incumbents and take control of the Senate next year, but this latest loss is part of what has become a Republican firewall in Southern and Western states that positions the party to retain its majority.

Cunningham said in a statement that he had called Tillis to congratulate him.

President-elect Joe Biden said Friday, as ballots were still being tabulated in states across the country, that voters had spoken loudly to embrace the policies and principles he campaigned on.

"They have given us a mandate for action on COVID and the economy and climate change and systemic racism," Biden said in a late-night speech in Wilmington, Del. "They made it clear they want the country to come together — not pull apart."

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So we still don't have a final result in the presidential race, but let's take a few minutes and focus now on Congress. The Democrats retained control of the House last night but didn't make the kinds of gains they were hoping for in the Senate.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leads a 232-to-197 Democratic majority in the House heading into the election. There are five current vacancies and one
Libertarian, former Republican Justin Amash, R-Mich., who left the party in 2019 in a clash over his plan to vote to impeach President Trump.

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett apologized for using the term "sexual preference" when discussing the outcome of the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Barrett's comments were a response to a lengthy statement by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who detailed why many in the LGBTQ community may be concerned that the rights granted in Obergefell could be overturned if Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is set to give a glimpse of her judicial philosophy as her Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Updated at 12:52 p.m.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday that he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are discussing potential stand-alone bills for aid to airlines, small businesses and Americans. He said the Trump administration was "still willing to be engaged" on piecemeal aid bills, though it was not optimistic about a comprehensive aid bill.

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