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Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio and digital content as well as the NPR Politics Podcast. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. Previously, she was the executive assistant to the senior vice president for news at NPR. Sprunt was an intern at NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, where she produced the "Three-Minute Fiction" segment, and NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and a Pennsylvania native.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday just hours after the House approved it amidst the deepening crisis over the pandemic.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation's families, workers and businesses. And that's what this is all about," Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Lagging in the Democratic presidential primary and facing the unique challenge of running for office amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is still assessing his campaign's future.

"It's changing every day because elections are being delayed," Sanders said in an interview with Morning Edition's Noel King.

"Where do we go from here with the elections that are being delayed, where we can't go out and hold rallies or knock on doors? That's what we're looking at right now," Sanders said.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

President Trump told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came ahead of the White House's regular news conference on its response to the pandemic.

Roughly 50,000 Instagram viewers got a taste of what a White House briefing from the coronavirus task force would be like if only the doctor, not President Trump, answered questions.

Senate leaders have unanimously passed a historic $2 trillion deal to provide economic relief for Americans, businesses and the health care industry in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Thursday

The White House's pandemic task force convened another briefing on Wednesday afternoon amid a tense denouement for legislation aimed at helping an economy poleaxed by the disaster.

Last-minute objections on Wednesday delayed the Senate vote until late in the evening, when it passed on a vote of 96 to 0.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

In the midst of Senate negotiations on a massive stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic, House Democrats have drafted their own counterproposal titled the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican bill before the Senate puts "corporations first, not workers and families."

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced on Saturday.

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

The White House sought to show that it's in control of the sprawling coronavirus crisis on Friday even as it acknowledged enduring shortfalls in key supplies.

Administration officials also said they're imposing new controls on travel and restricting passage through the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico following agreements with those governments.

Here were some key points from the latest briefing.

Too few tests

President Trump signed a second coronavirus emergency aid package into law Wednesday evening, after it passed with overwhelming support from the Senate.

The legislation follows a first emergency funding bill, which allocated roughly $8 billion for coronavirus prevention, preparation and response efforts.

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."

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.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House.

First lady Melania Trump designed the decorations for the people's house, choosing an "American Treasures" theme intended to showcase a spirit of patriotism. The administration debuted the decorations Monday.

During December, the White House will open its doors for more than 100 open house events. More than 30,000 visitors are projected to take part in public tours.

For those of you who can't make it to Washington, D.C., for a White House holiday tour, take a look.

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.