Claudia Grisales

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.

Before joining NPR in June 2019, she was a Capitol Hill reporter covering military affairs for Stars and Stripes. She also covered breaking news involving fallen service members and the Trump administration's relationship with the military. She also investigated service members who have undergone toxic exposures, such as the atomic veterans who participated nuclear bomb testing and subsequent cleanup operations.

Prior to Stars and Stripes, Grisales was an award-winning reporter at the daily newspaper in Central Texas, the Austin American-Statesman, for 16 years. There, she covered the intersection of business news and regulation, energy issues and public safety. She also conducted a years-long probe that uncovered systemic abuses and corruption at Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the largest member-owned utility in the country. The investigation led to the ousting of more than a dozen executives, state and U.S. congressional hearings and criminal convictions for two of the co-op's top leaders.

Grisales is originally from Chicago and is an alum of the University of Houston, the University of Texas and Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she earned a master's degree in journalism.

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Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, is testifying before Congress about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He's taking questions from a committee chaired by Democrat Dick Durbin.

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The U.S. Capitol police union issued an overwhelming no-confidence vote for the force's top leaders, including acting Chief Yogananda Pittman and a half-dozen other agency leaders.

The news comes as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees announced plans for a February 23 joint oversight hearing to examine security failures.

Pittman drew a 92% no-confidence vote, while Capitol Police Captain Ben Smith received the highest rebuke from 97% of voting members, the union said.

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As the House debated impeaching President Trump, security was heightened Wednesday all around the Capitol, with barricades set several blocks from the Capitol building and law enforcement and national guard officials checking badges for anyone to enter the perimeter even by foot.

Updated at 9 p.m. ET:

A day after an insurrection that overtook the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol's three top security officials resigned from their posts amid building pressure from lawmakers and others over failures that allowed the dramatic breach.

The House and Senate's top protocol officers and the U.S. Capitol Police chief are now all expected to be replaced following a series of resignations in the wake of the security failures.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

President Trump has ignited a firestorm, threatening the viability of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. His objection - the direct payments of $600 included in the package. He says they're too low.

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Top leaders and rank-and-file members of Congress are taking part in the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations, a move that could accelerate plans for Congress to return to business as usual. But not all lawmakers agree on who should get priority as millions of Americans in high-risk groups still await their turn.

The Capitol's attending physician, Brian Monahan, alerted its more than 500 lawmakers this month that they're now eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under continuity-of-government requirements.

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With the Electoral College votes now complete, a new wave of Senate Republicans are acknowledging what's been clear for weeks: Joe Biden is the president-elect.

Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET

A day after the Electoral College made the results official, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for their victory.

McConnell joins a wave of new Republicans acknowledging the win on Monday.

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Day 2 of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is underway. Today started with the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, expressing his support for Barrett.

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Updated on Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic for months has upended the daily work of Congress, sickening dozens of members and hundreds of workers.

A sitting Congressman, a member-elect and an aide have died.

Timer Colen has been on a political journey of sorts this year, starting out as an Andrew Yang supporter, then switching to Bernie Sanders after Yang dropped out and finally landing on plans to vote for Joe Biden.

"He's not as progressive as I would like," said the 22-year-old registered independent voter. Colen is an engineering student at Davidson College outside of Charlotte, N.C.

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Americans are looking to Washington for coronavirus relief. But after nearly two weeks of talks, leaders from both parties can only seem to agree that they are nowhere close to a deal.

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So here's how the top Senate Republican is describing his party's latest plan to help Americans.

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Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET

One of a series of reports looking at Joe Biden's potential running mates.


In combat and in Congress, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth has seen a lot of firsts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has asked the Congressional Black Caucus to lead the process of drafting a legislative response to the protests that have swept the country following the death of George Floyd.

House Democrats are sorting through dozens of proposals to address policing issues, including excessive use of force and racial profiling.

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The Senate passed a new coronavirus relief bill. Almost half a trillion dollars is set to go to small businesses to hospitals and to testing. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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As the impacts of coronavirus spread among its own membership, House lawmakers are weighing alternatives to a longtime tradition to in-person voting as they near a potential, major vote on a new emergency bill.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

In the early 1990s, two dozen House lawmakers pitched an idea of voting electronically. The proposal didn't get very far.

Now, as the coronavirus threat grows, one of original sponsors of that measure is trying again.

"At the time we didn't have ... the electronic communications we have today to safely vote remotely," said Ohio Republican Rob Portman, who is now a senator. "Now we do."

Portman is co-sponsoring a resolution with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois to allow remote voting.

And Portman has a lot more company this time.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced legislation on Thursday to address the economic impact of the coronavirus. This is the third legislative package to deal with the outbreak.

The proposal was drafted by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration. The bill still needs to be negotiated with Senate Democrats, which McConnell said would happen Friday. Already some Democrats were criticizing the plan as too focused on help for corporations and were calling for major changes.

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