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.

House lawmakers on Friday approved a Democratic proposal to provide $3 trillion in coronavirus relief that would include a new wave of help for state and local governments, workers and families.

The House voted 208 to 199 — largely along party lines — to pass the measure. The size of the bill represents the biggest ever proposed and it includes another round of direct cash payments to Americans, extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, and adds hazard pay for front-line workers. It also expands virus-testing efforts, contact tracing and treatment.

For the first time in its history, the Democratic-led House approved rule changes that will allow members to vote by proxy and hold hearings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

For weeks, lawmakers debated the proposal as the pandemic worsened and forced the House to extend its recess as public health risks were assessed.

House Democrats installed the new rules on a largely party line vote of 217 to 189 over Republican arguments that the move bucks the chamber's institutional history and sets a dangerous precedent.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is not on board with how his Republican governor has let the Lone Star State reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott let Texas' stay-at-home orders expire last month, and businesses resumed their operations with limited capacity.

With the state's caseload on the rise, Castro said it's all happening too soon.

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Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

House Democrats are moving full steam ahead with legislation to provide a new wave of coronavirus relief at a price tag of more than $3 trillion, with plans to call the full House back on Friday to approve it.

Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET

Though the coronavirus remains a serious threat in Washington, D.C., U.S. senators return to the Capitol from their home states on Monday, more than five weeks after their last formal gathering and roll call votes.

In the midst of the pandemic, the Senate will resume on Monday under a series of new social distancing measures.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shared guidelines from the Capitol's attending physician for members to follow when the upper chamber returns.

The 7-page letter from Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, to senators suggests members and visitors alike maintain six feet of distance, limit staff and visitors in offices and encourages masks if possible.

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Updated at on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday signed Congress' latest coronavirus economic relief package, which includes additional aid to small businesses and hospitals.

The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House on Thursday — 388-5, with one lawmaker voting present.

The five lawmakers who voted against the package included one Democrat — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — and four Republicans — Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jody Hice of Georgia, Ken Buck of Colorado and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

In the face of Republican opposition, House Democrats have backed off plans to consider unprecedented rule changes to allow members to vote and hold hearings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

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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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The White House and congressional leaders could be nearing an agreement on a new wave of coronavirus relief funding.

Negotiations have been ongoing to replenish popular programs created as part of a $2 trillion response package passed last month.

House Democrats are considering proxy voting as a new way to avoid large gatherings in the lower chamber during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presented the plan to Democrats during a caucus call on Thursday, suggesting it was the best low-tech option at this time.

The proposal would allow members to vote on behalf of colleagues who aren't able to travel to Washington, D.C. It would also allow those votes to count towards a quorum — a procedural move which is sometimes requested by members hoping to block a measure.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the daily work of Congress to a halt.

House and Senate leaders delayed bringing back members for several weeks because of the outbreak and as public health guidelines recommended continued social distancing.

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A new U.S. senator from Georgia has come under fire for selling $20 million in stock after a briefing in the weeks building up to the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed to her seat against President Trump's wishes. Now, just three months into the appointment, Loeffler is fighting for her political life ahead of elections in November.

Trump and his allies had lobbied heavily for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to get the vacant seat, but Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler.

The children's voices on the phone line were hesitant, but they were looking for answers.

"Why did we switch to remote learning?"

"When are we going to go back to school?"

"They're opening up an emergency hospital here, will that bring more coronavirus cases to my area?"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House members are in the information-gathering stage of a fourth coronavirus response bill, but it could be several weeks before the lower chamber takes up the legislation.

Pelosi also said she would not be tested for the virus, even after a member who attended events with her on Friday is presumed to have a coronavirus infection.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

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."

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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 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.

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In today's briefing from the coronavirus task force at the White House, President Trump sounded optimistic at times about the timeline for revising social distancing practices and getting the American economy back to business as usual.

As the number of lawmakers who have tested positive for the coronavirus grows, prompting many of their colleagues to self-quarantine, some members are pushing to move to remote voting, which would break a longtime institutional tradition of voting in person.

Updated at 7:20 a.m. ET

After a tense day on the Senate floor that included leaders trading barbs over who is to blame for failing to advance a new coronavirus response bill, the top Senate Democrat said late Monday night that he was "very, very close" to an agreement with the White House on a deal for a third wave of emergency funding that could go well past $1 trillion.

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.

Updated at 8:34 p.m. ET

President Trump signed the latest coronavirus aid package into law Wednesday evening.

The Senate approved the new round of emergency funding earlier Wednesday.

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