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The NPR Politics Podcast

The NPR Politics Podcast

Every weekday, NPR's best political reporters are there to explain the big news coming out of Washington and the campaign trail. They don't just tell you what happened. They tell you why it matters. Every afternoon.

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Episodes

60 Percent Of Adults Are Fully Vaccinated. Why Are Things Getting Worse?

President Biden gave a speech Thursday afternoon begging folks to get vaccinated. A CDC document warns that the very contagious delta variant means "the war has changed" against COVID.

The bipartisan infrastructure deal which passed its first vote in the Senate this week is evidence that President Biden may be able to foster cooperative lawmaking in modern Washington, as he promised during the campaign. Will it help his party hold onto congressional majorities during a difficult midterm election cycle?

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and congressional correspondent Susan Davis.

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2021-07-30
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The Docket: The Rise And Fall Of The Voting Rights Act Of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was born from the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s, but in recent years the Supreme Court has effectively nullified its key provisions. We explore why the law was first passed and what it means for voters of color now that its powers have been gutted.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

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2021-07-29
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Sixty-Six Percent Of Alabamians Still Need The Shot. Can Tommy Tuberville Help?

The White House says it is "following the science" on masks after the CDC issued new guidance, but some experts say they're falling short on the social science: how to convince the remaining 40 percent of American adults to get vaccinated.

Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate in the nation and residents there aren't likely to listen to President Biden. Can football coach-turned-Senator Tommy Tuberville convince the rest of the state to get inoculated?

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, national correspondent Debbie Elliott, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-07-28
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Four Police Officers Detailed The Ugly Violence And Racism Of The Capitol Riot

The officers ? Pfc. Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police, and Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department ? testified before a congressional committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump's supporters. The officers each detailed brutal violence and abuse at the hand of protestors that left them with ongoing physical and mental injuries.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, congressional reporter Claudia Grisales, and justice correspondent Ryan Lucas.

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2021-07-27
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Some 6300 New Migrants Arrived At The Southern Border Every Day Of June

Customs and Border Protection reported encounters with 188,829 migrants and asylum-seekers at the U.S. southern border last month, the highest level in a generation. The Biden administration has struggled with how to respond.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-07-26
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Weekly Roundup: July 23rd

A hearing next week featuring testimony by Capitol Police officers will be held without any members nominated by Republicans. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is boycotting the process after the House's top Democrat Nancy Pelosi vetoed some of the members he selected to serve.

And the rate of violent crime is sharply up in some cities across the United States. There are no simple answers about what's driving the increase, but it it is certain to be a central issue in the Republican effort to retake majorities in Congress next year.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, congressional reporter Claudia Grisales, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-07-23
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The First $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Deal Vote Failed. It Doesn't Really Matter.

A group of 21 senators from both parties but out a statement that they're close to a deal and another vote is expected as soon as Monday.

And an Ohio Democratic primary race to replace Biden official Marica Fudge in the House of Representatives is getting a lot of national attention, including from this podcast.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, congressional correspondent Susan Davis, and demographics and culture correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben.

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2021-07-22
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A Heartbreaking Rise In COVID Cases Has People Worried Restrictions Will Return

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in parts of the United States and there have been new cases among fully-vaccinated lawmakers and government staff. The country as a whole saw a nearly 150% increase in the seven-day case average compared with two weeks prior.

The vaccines, though, are still preventing serious infections and mostly keeping people out of the hospital. Now, President Biden and the White House are struggling to figure out how to get the remaining one-third of American adults vaccinated and stop a pandemic backslide.

This episode: political correspondent Juana Summers, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and science correspondent Rob Stein.

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2021-07-21
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These Two Sites Explain How Facebook Outrage Reshaped Media

Ben Shapiro's conservative commentary and news aggregation site The Daily Wire is a dominant force on Facebook, where sharp headlines drive massive engagement.

The upstart The Georgia Star News has pushed outright disinformation about the 2020 presidential election and subsequently scored an exclusive interview with Donald Trump.

The two sites illustrate a number of distinct ways in which outrage, social media, and political polarization have reshaped the media landscape.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, politics reporter Miles Parks, and Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Stephen Fowler.

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2021-07-20
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What Does Federal Court Ruling Mean For DACA Program?

President Joe Biden's primary policy initiatives, his trillion-dollar infrastructure and economic plans, face their first test in the Senate this week. And does a federal court ruling limiting the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, increase the urgency around immigration in Congress?

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, congressional reporter Susan Davis, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-07-19
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Black Rebellion: Mass Violence And The Civil Rghts Movement

Elizabeth Hinton's book America On Fire explores how aggressive policing sparked thousands of incidents of mass violence in Black communities across the United States beginning in the 1960s. NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben talks to the author about how the government's typical response to these "rebellions" ? more policing ? is both escalatory and inadequate.

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2021-07-17
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Weekly Roundup: July 16th

Voting rights activists feel that they have done the work of energizing and organizing voters to care about the issue. Now, they want President Biden to step up the pressure on Congress from the bully pulpit. And Hunter Biden's art sales will be anonymous, which the White House is calling an ethics win. Good governance experts aren't buying it.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, political correspondent Juana Summers, and senior political editor and correspondent Ron Elving.

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2021-07-16
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Is This The Biggest Bill Of Your Lifetime?

In his April address to Congress, President Joe Biden said he hoped to prove that democracy and the federal government were still capable of delivering for the American people. This week, Senate Democrats unveiled Biden's chief effort to meet that promise: a $3.5 trillion dollar plan that would ? among other things ? dramatically expand access to child and health care, as well as overhaul the energy sector to curb climate change. The proposal faces a difficult road to passage and could see considerable revisions.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and congressional correspondent Susan Davis.

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2021-07-15
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Can Joe Biden Turn Florida Blue With A Savvy Response To Protests In Cuba?

Faced with food and fuel shortages, Cubans have begun unprecedented protests against the country's communist government. President Biden's response could help boost Democratic support among Florida's many Cuban American voters. The party has lost a number of key elections in the state, thanks in large part to lackluster support among conservative expatriates who hope to see Democrats take a harder line against Cuba's communist government.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and international correspondent Carrie Kahn.

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2021-07-14
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We Asked Vice President Kamala Harris If She's Pushing Senate To Change Filibuster

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Vice President Harris talked to NPR's Asma Khalid about the administration's path forward on their voting rights agenda given the major roadblock in the Senate: some Democrats in the chamber are unwilling to change the filibuster, a rules quirk that forces a sixty-to-forty majority to pass most legislation.

And many Democrats from the Texas statehouse have come to Washington D.C. to meet with federal lawmakers, fleeing their own state in a procedural stunt to stall a suite of voting restrictions proposed by Republicans there.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Asma Khalid, and KUT reporter Ashley Lopez.

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2021-07-13
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When Will People Be Able To Visit The United States Again?

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Domestic travel is surging as the country reopens, but there is still an international-sized hole in the bottom lines of some U.S. tourism businesses. Would-be foreign visitors are mostly barred from coming stateside as coronavirus travel bans persist ? and there have been few concrete answers from the Biden administration on when that will change.

And vaccine maker Pfizer has begun talking about providing a coronavirus vaccine booster shot. That could be a huge financial windfall for the pharmaceutical giant, but federal government health groups were quick to say that they're not sure if or when a booster shot will be needed.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and health correspondent Pien Huang.

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2021-07-12
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Weekly Roundup: July 9th

President Biden gave a defensive speech Thursday updating the American public on his plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan. He said that the United States accomplished its mission in Afghanistan, though his administration acknowledged earlier in the day that the two-decade war "has not been won militarily" and that there are ongoing risks to the safety and prosperity of Afghans.

Domestically, the White House is stalled on voting rights reforms: Democrats in Congress can't find a route around the filibuster and conservative courts have throttled historic enforcement options made possible by the Voting Rights Act.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, White House correspondent Scott Detrow, Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

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2021-07-09
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Trump's Social Media Lawsuit Is Mostly Messaging, But Tech Regulation Is Coming

Former president Donald Trump filed a lawsuit this week claiming that his rights are violated by social media bans, claims legal experts say are spurious. But there has long been a push for big tech regulation in Washington, and it appears that the wheels are starting to turn.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, congressional editor Deirdre Walsh, and technology correspondent Shannon Bond.

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2021-07-08
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How An Increase In Violent Crime Is Changing The Political Landscape

Though crime rates remain well-below historic highs, assaults and murders have spiked since the pandemic began. Democrats in New York picked ex-cop Eric Adams as their mayoral nominee; he's likely to win. Biden traveled to Chicago to talk gun violence with the city's mayor Lori Lightfoot.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, and WNYC reporter Brigid Bergin.

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2021-07-07
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Six Months Later, There Is A Lot We Don't Know About The Attack On The Capitol

More than five hundred people have been charged in what is on track to be one of the largest criminal investigations in the country's history. Now, a House committee is charged with an impossible task: establishing a widely-accepted set of facts about what happened on January 6th.

This episode; White House correspondent Tamara Keith, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, and justice correspondent Ryan Lucas.

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2021-07-06
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How Democratic Is American Democracy?

By 2040, 70% of Americans could be represented by just 30 Senators. And twice in the last two decades, a Republican president has lost the popular vote but won the White House. America's government was built to protect the rights of political minorities, but some critics say the system has become too unfair. What does this mean for the future of U.S. politics?

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving.

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2021-07-05
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The Docket: The First Term With A New Conservative 6-3 Majority On The Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts used to be seen as a solid conservative, but as the center of conservative politics moved to the right so did the justices appointed after him. Now with a 6-3 conservative super majority on the court, what role does the chief justice play?

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and special guest Tom Goldstein.

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2021-07-03
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Weekly Roundup: July 2nd

President Biden did not meet his goal of 70% of Americans having one shot of the vaccine by July 4th, and some hot spots are flaring up in red states with a new variant looming. But there are signs across the nation that the country has radically curbed the spread of the virus. Plus economists are now predicting an ever quicker recovery for the economy.

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, science reporter Pien Huang, and senior economic correspondent Scott Horsley.

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2021-07-02
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Trump Organization, CFO Are Criminally Charged. What Does It Mean For Trump?

Former President Donald Trump's family business and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, have been criminally charged by the Manhattan district attorney's office in a case involving alleged tax-related crimes. The former president was not charged, but it's his name on the business. How could this impact him?

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and journalist Andrea Bernstein (author of American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power).

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2021-07-02
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The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Restrictive Voting Laws

In a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court upheld the state of Arizona's restrictive voting laws that some argued targeted black and brown voters. Plus, the court ruled in favor of rich donors seeking anonymity when donating to nonprofits, which could mean a lot for campaign contributors.

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-07-01
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We Just Got Our Clearest Picture Yet Of How Biden Won In 2020

The Pew Research Center just released the most comprehensive analysis of the demographic breakdown of voters in 2020. We dig into the data and look at what it means for the both parties moving forward.

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, and White House correspondent Asma Khalid.

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2021-06-30
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The Supreme Court Avoids Ruling On Trans Rights, At Least For Now

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to wade into a major controversy over the use of bathrooms by transgender students, delivering at least a temporary victory to the trans community. But legislation across the country point to a mounting court battle in the future. Plus, the Biden administration faces criticism from climate activists.

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and White House correspondent Scott Detrow.

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2021-06-29
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In Tandem: Biden Walks Tightrope Between Infrastructure Deal And Democratic Wish-list

President Biden walked back an earlier threat that he would not sign the newly announced bipartisan infrastructure deal if it did not come to his desk with a second bill full of progressive priorities. Plus, former President Trump held his first post-presidency rally to drum up support for a congressional candidate.

This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and national political correspondent Don Gonyea.

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2021-06-28
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NPR's It's Been A Minute: A History Of AIDS/HIV Activism

Forty years ago this month, the CDC reported on patients with HIV/AIDS in the United States for the very first time. In the years since, LGBTQIA+ Americans have been fighting for treatment and recognition of a disease that was was understudied, under-reported, and deeply stigmatized. In this episode Sam Sanders talks with activists about how they got the media and the government to pay attention to the crisis.
2021-06-26
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Weekly Roundup: June 25th

The Department of Justice announced it is suing the state of Georgia over a restrictive voting law. The move comes as the Biden administration seeks ways to combat Republican efforts to limit ballot access. Plus, Vice President Kamala Harris visits the U.S.-Mexico border after mounting criticism for not going there sooner.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, Justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-06-25
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Biden Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, But That's Only Half The Story

Standing next to Democratic and Republican Senators, President Biden declared, "we have a deal." The group had agreed to a framework for a large infrastructure package. But the path forward could mean far more partisan deal making before any roads or bridges are built.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell.

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2021-06-24
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"Mean Girls" Meets The Supreme Court Pt. II: SCOTUS Supports Student Free Speech

The Supreme Court sided with a student who was penalized after cussing out her school on Snapchat. Advocates of free speech are calling it a big win for students.

Listen to our earlier breakdown of the case.

Plus, violent crime is on the rise throughout the country, and the Biden administration has unveiled its plan to combat the problem.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, and justice correspondent Ryan Lucas.

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2021-06-23
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Democrats And Republicans Are In An Existential Crisis Over Ballot Access

Today Democrats' massive elections overhaul bill is all but set to stall out in the Senate, but the party's wish-list was never expected to gain Republican support. That's because the two parties are only getting further apart on how conduct free and fair elections.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-06-22
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The Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects NCAA Limits On Athlete Compensation

The Supreme Court unanimously sided with college athletes in their challenge to NCAA compensation rules. The court's ruling was narrow, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh seemed open to going further saying, "the NCAA's business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America."

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, and senior political editor and correspondent Carrie Johnson.

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2021-06-21
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Weekly Roundup: June 18th

Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman is part of a new class of progressive lawmakers hoping to push their party left on issues like police reform, healthcare and racial justice. A proponent of reparations legislation, the former New York principal tells NPR that President Biden's position "falls short" when it comes to reparations for survivors and descendants of victims of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
2021-06-18
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Obamacare Wins At SCOTUS; Biden Admin Expands Transgender Student Protections

The Supreme Court threw out a Republican-led challenge to the Affordable Care Act, and the justices ruled unanimously in favor of a Catholic foster agency denying service to LGBTQ couples. Plus, the Biden administration expanded transgender and gay student protections, setting up potential legal battles in conservative states.

This episode: Congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, White House correspondent Asma Khalid, national justive correspondent Carrie Johnson, and education correspondent Cory Turner.

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2021-06-17
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"I Did What I Came To Do": President Biden Meets With Russia's Vladimir Putin

In Geneva, President Biden and Russia President Vladimir Putin met for hours. At separate news conferences Putin described the talks as "constructive" and Biden said he did what he came to do. Both leaders agreed to keep talking.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and NPR's Moscow correspondent Lucian Kim.

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2021-06-16
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Vice President Harris, Texas Lawmakers Meet To Push Voting Reform

Democrats on the Hill are meeting with Democratic state lawmakers from Texas to discuss federal legislation on voting rights, an issue that was recently added to the Vice President's list of priorities. But a couple of key moderate Democrats still stand in the way of nationwide reform.

This episode: White House correspondents Scott Detrow and Ayesha Rascoe, and congressional correspondent Susan Davis.
2021-06-15
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In First Trip Abroad, Biden Tells Allies "America Is Back"

In the first overseas trip of his presidency, Biden is in Europe delivering a central message to allies: America is back. But while G-7 leaders agree on confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, they diverge on how hard to push China. Plus, will Biden's meeting with Vladimir Putin pave the way for a more predictable relationship with Russia?

This episode: White House correspondents Scott Detrow, Tamara Keith and Franco Ordoñez.

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2021-06-14
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Weekly Roundup: June 11th

In a speech announcing the change, President Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized that allowing every eligible American adult the chance to vote was not something that is up for debate.

Also: a bipartisan group of ten senators brokered their own infrastructure agreement. Now all they have to do is.... convince fifty of their colleagues to sign on.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Asma Khalid, Justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, and senior political editor and correspondent Ron Elving.

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2021-06-11
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What's Behind The GOP's 'Critical Race Theory' Rhetoric?

Some Republican lawmakers have branded the efforts to teach about the effects of racism as "critical race theory." They have introduced legislation in statehouses around the country hoping to ban it.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, racial justice and politics correspondent Juana Summers, and political reporter Barbara Sprunt.

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2021-06-10
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VP Harris Emphasizes Anti-Corruption In Trip To Guatemala, Mexico

Vice President Harris emphasized the need for development and healthy civil society in her first foreign trip, meant to curb the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers coming to the United States. And Biden is negotiating over infrastructure with a larger bipartisan group after his negotiations with Republicans foundered.

This episode: politics, demographics, and culture reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, international correspondent Carrie Kahn, and congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell.

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2021-06-09
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Senate Insurrection Report And Biden's First Trip Abroad

A bipartisan Senate investigation found that police had more alarming intelligence ahead of the Jan. 6 attack than previously documented. And the president is off to Europe this week. He will attempt to reassure leaders that the U.S. is a reliable partner and an important ally against China and Russia.

This episode: politics, demographics, and culture reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales.

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2021-06-08
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How Does Trump's Return To The Public Eye Impact GOP Lawmakers?

Former president Donald Trump spoke at a North Carolina Republican Party meeting over the weekend. The appearance demonstrated his lasting control of the conservative political ecosystem.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-06-07
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Weekly Roundup: June 4th

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont had asked the Labor Department to bar governors from prematurely ending supplementary unemployment payments tied to the pandemic. In an interview with NPR, Walsh said there probably wasn't anything the administration could do to stop them.

Also: Vice President Harris is taking her first international trip in an effort to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S. southern border.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell.

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2021-06-04
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With North Carolina Speech, Trump Returns To The Political Stage

Former President Trump will speak at the North Carolina Republican Party's state convention this weekend, kicking off his unofficial return to the campaign trail as he prepares to stump for Republican candidates. Also, while some Trump administration alumni have followed traditional conservative routes since leaving the White House, others are working to keep the MAGA movement alive.

This episode: White House correspondents Asma Khalid and Ayesha Rascoe, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-06-03
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Battles In Texas, Arizona Are Just The Beginning Of The Fight Over Voting Rights

In Texas this week, state Democrats blocked a number of Republican voting changes purportedly aimed at increasing election confidence. Arizona's continued recounts of 2020 ballots have helped to sustain right-wing conspiracies about irregularities in the presidential election.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, voting and disinformation reporter Miles Parks, KUT reporter Ashley Lopez, and KJZZ reporter Ben Giles.

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2021-06-02
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Biden Visits Tulsa On 100th Anniversary Of Racist Terror That Killed Hundreds

The White House announced a number of new orders aimed at tackling the racial wealth gap in connection with the visit. Centenarian survivors of the attack testified before Congress last month about the ongoing lack of justice and accountability for Black Americans harmed by racism.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and politics and racial justice correspondent Juana Summers.

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2021-06-01
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50 Years Of NPR's Political Coverage

This month NPR is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and to commemorate the moment we're looking back on the women who shaped how NPR has covered the biggest political stories. Linda Wertheimer, Nina Totenberg, and Mara Liasson built NPR's political coverage from the ground up and take us into the rooms where history was made.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow and White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe.

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2021-05-31
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Weekly Roundup: May 28th

The country's reckoning with policing, racial equity, and representation have reshaped the contest to run the largest city in the U.S. And, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has pushed for eight years to change the way the military prosecutes sexual assaults. Now, it looks like her legislation could pass Congress.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, WNYC reporter Brigid Bergin, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and congressional reporter Claudia Grisales.

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2021-05-28
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