Kelsey Snell

Kelsey Snell is a congressional reporter 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.

Congress voted to delay the threat of a partial government shutdown until Dec. 21 as lawmakers try to avoid political sniping in the midst of the public mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.

The main sticking point in the spending negotiations is President Trump's demand for $5 billion for construction of a wall along the Southwest border between the United States and Mexico.

Congressional leaders are planning to delay a spending fight until after the memorial ceremonies for former President George H.W. Bush are completed.

House leaders are drafting a bill to postpone a potential government shutdown from midnight on Friday night to the end of the day on Dec. 21.

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Updated at 6:31 p.m. ET

The controversial judicial nomination of Thomas Farr has been derailed in the Senate.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott — the lone African-American Republican in the Senate — sealed Farr's fate by saying on Thursday that he opposed the nomination. His opposition, along with Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake and all Senate Democrats, means there is not enough support for the nomination to go forward.

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President Trump is throwing his support behind legislation that could shorten sentences for some drug offenders and help prisoners adjust to life after incarceration.

Details of the measure have not been officially released, but Trump said Wednesday the bill will provide incentives for prisoners to participate in training or rehabilitation programs with a goal of reducing recidivism.

It will also include measures to address sentencing disparities and inequities.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

House Republicans elected top leaders Wednesday to oversee their transformation from an ideologically diverse majority power to an increasingly conservative minority in the next session of Congress.

Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered an olive branch to President Trump and congressional Republicans, just hours after Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives.

The congressional leader said that the new Democratic House majority will seek bipartisanship with Republicans, a comment that echoed what Trump himself had conveyed in his own postelection press conference.

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House Democrats are promising to start 2019 with a familiar pledge: They want to drain the swamp.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who plans to run for speaker, announced Tuesday that Democrats plan to use their majority in the House to act as a check on President Trump and on corruption in Washington.

Updated at 3:44 a.m. ET Wednesday

Republicans and Democrats will split control of Congress next year. House Democrats are projected to pick up enough GOP-held seats to take the majority in the House, according to The Associated Press. Senate Republicans are projected to maintain and perhaps expand their majority.

The results create a divided Capitol Hill next year and mean President Trump's plans for new tax cuts, tougher immigration legislation and changes to the Affordable Care Act will be blocked.

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Updated at 8:52 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a message for Republican voters who are celebrating the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: Get to the polls in November if you want more conservatives sitting on judicial benches.

Updated at 8:41 p.m. ET

Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Friday, and his confirmation now seems all but certain, after a key swing vote, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, declared her support in a speech on the Senate floor.

Moments after Collins completed her remarks, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced in a statement that he too will support the nomination when it comes up for a final vote.

That final vote is expected as soon as Saturday.

Updated at 7:51 a.m. ET on Thursday

The FBI's highly anticipated supplemental background check on Brett Kavanaugh was sent to the White House and Capitol Hill overnight, with senators set to review the report on Thursday in the final chapter of what has become a deeply acrimonious confirmation battle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the planned arrival of the report on Wednesday night and said all senators would get a chance to review it ahead of the next procedural milestones in the chamber.

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Christine Blasey Ford has just begun to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, offering testimony today against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Let's just bring the sound of that as we hear a bit of her opening statement.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

The House voted 361-61 to approve a spending bill to avoid a shutdown threat until early December. President Trump has said he plans to sign the legislation.

The legislation also includes a full year of funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor and Health and Human Services and a short-term extension of the Violence Against Women Act; but it has no new money for Trump's proposed wall with Mexico.

Updated at 11:18 p.m. ET

Days before the Senate is set to hear from a woman who alleges that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her while in high school, Kavanaugh is denying fresh accusations from a college classmate who also alleges he acted inappropriately toward her.

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago, will testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Attorneys for Ford reached an agreement with committee staff on Sunday after days of negotiations over the conditions and details of her appearance. The terms of their agreement provide that Kavanaugh will also appear before the committee, but he will not be in the room while Ford is speaking or being questioned.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in the 1980s, have begun discussing terms of her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

"She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety," Debra Katz, Ford's lawyer says in an email to committee aides first reported in the New York Times and confirmed by NPR.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee will move forward with a hearing scheduled for Monday on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, despite a request for further investigation from his accuser.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to a plan to avoid a shutdown fight weeks before the midterm elections in November.

Sen. Lindsey Graham doesn't want to replace his best friend, Sen. John McCain — he wants to lead a march in McCain's footsteps.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday delayed efforts to rename the Russell Senate Office in honor of Sen. John McCain by creating an official group to vet a variety of memorial options.

McConnell announced plans for the bipartisan committee just days after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., first suggested renaming the building to memorialize McCain, who died Saturday at 81. Republican reaction to the Schumer proposal was mixed, even as Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's fellow Arizona Republican, signed on as a co-sponsor.

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET

The beginning of the national memorial for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been marred by a fight over a sign of public respect, as President Trump initially avoided issuing a proclamation to lower flags to half-staff at all federal properties in McCain's honor.

Flags were lowered at government buildings across Washington and across the country Saturday evening after McCain died, as is standard practice for a sitting member of Congress.

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