Ailsa Chang

Susan Collins has broken both of her ankles. She broke her left one when she was running in high heels to the Senate chamber because she so desperately refused to miss a vote. The Maine Republican has the second-longest voting streak in the Senate, by the way, after fellow Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

"He has a longer streak, but I'm the only one who's never missed a single vote," said Collins in a recent interview in her office, referring to Grassley missing votes early in his Senate career.

Not that she's keeping track.

President Trump has made his pick to fill the ninth seat on the Supreme Court.

So now what?

At about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans moved one step closer to repealing a law they have railed against since the moment it was passed nearly seven years ago.

By a final vote of 51-48, the Senate approved a budget resolution that sets the stage for broad swaths of the Affordable Care Act to be repealed through a process known as budget reconciliation. The resolution now goes to the House, where leaders are hoping to approve it by the end of the week.

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Much has been said about the physical and psychological injuries of war, like traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. But what we talk about less is how these conditions affect the sexual relationships of service members after they return from combat.

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To no one's surprise, Paul Ryan has been chosen by House Republicans to serve as speaker again. It was a unanimous vote. With expansive support from his caucus, Ryan will breeze through the formal election before the full House in January.

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Negotiators in the House and Senate have reached a deal on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 9.

Republicans and Democrats have been arguing for weeks to find a way forward before the Sept. 30 deadline in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Last week, negotiations in the Senate appeared to be at a standstill, with Democrats in both chambers insisting that the most recent Republican offer was not enough.

The Senate voted Wednesday to give families of 9/11 victims the right to sue the Saudi Arabian government, overriding President Obama's veto for the first time.

The vote was lopsided, with 97 Senators voting in favor of the override, well above the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the president's objection. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid cast the lone "no" vote. Senators Tim Kaine, D-Va. and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. did not vote.

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A lot has been said about the difficulty Donald Trump has had getting the Republican establishment behind him. But one man has always backed him in the Senate: Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

They're the odd couple of politics: a New York City tycoon and a guy from the deep South. One man is mild-mannered. The other, famous for bold exaggerations.

But Trump and Sessions are linked by their shared hard-line view on one central issue: immigration.

And Sessions too has had a controversial political career.

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The Senate is set to vote on four gun control measures Monday evening — and none of them is expected to pass.

Getting these votes scheduled was the singular goal of a 15-hour talking marathon Senate Democrats mounted on the Senate floor Wednesday. But because the outcome of the votes is already a foregone conclusion, some senators are wondering out loud: "What's the point?"

"This is unfortunately about politics on Monday night, not about finding a solution that will work for our country," said Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Now that Hillary Clinton has reached the magic number of delegates to secure the Democratic nomination for president, the question on the minds of many Senate Democrats is, when is Bernie Sanders going to call it quits?

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Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When Republicans took over both chambers of Congress in January, party leaders vowed they would prove to the country that Republicans could govern. They promised to stop with the self-made crises, such as government shutdowns, and rack up legislative accomplishments. So in the first year of a GOP-controlled Congress in nearly a decade, how well did Republicans prove they can govern?

Update at 8:40 p.m. ET: Senate passed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act, with a 52-47 vote.

Here is our original post:

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

Just days before the election of a new speaker of the House, lame-duck Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made good on one last promise — that he'd try to "clear the barn" for his successor.

In one fell swoop, two thorny issues were crossed off the to-do list: raising the debt ceiling by next Tuesday and coming up with a budget agreement.

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Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

As the Supreme Court edges closer to issuing an opinion that could deal a blow to the federal health exchange operating in more than 30 states, Democrats have sounded a warning to their colleagues on the other side: Be careful what you wish for.

This post was updated at 1 p.m. ET

Senate leaders were all smiles Wednesday after they broke a 24-hour impasse and announced they had reached a deal on how to move forward on a fast-track trade negotiating bill. That legislation would give the president expedited authority to enter into a trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries, otherwise known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

But how senators will vote on this bill depends largely on how they feel about TPP. And there's one problem.

Republican Warren Limmer sits in the second row of the Minnesota state Senate. He says more than 80 percent of his colleagues sit behind him. But he doesn't dare turn around to look at them when he gets up to speak.

He might get scolded. It has happened before.

"Then my cadence is thrown off," Limmer said. "I have to beg forgiveness to the Senate president. And then I'll get a slight admonishment, and then I can proceed."

Just a few weeks ago we heard a lot about a delicate compromise that would allow Congress to review any deal emerging from nuclear talks with Iran. It came from a bipartisan negotiation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — to wide acclaim.

There's a word you're going to be hearing a lot as Congress tries to pass a budget this year: reconciliation. It's a procedural fast-track lawmakers get to use after they approve a budget. Republicans are hoping to repeal the Affordable Care Act — or, at least parts of it — through reconciliation, but they're not likely to win that game.

A once widely supported Senate bill that would create a fund for human trafficking victims has hit a snag over language Democrats say they didn't know was in the bill — a provision that would bar funds collected under the measure from being used to pay for abortions. And the impasse over that language now threatens to delay other Senate business, like confirming a new attorney general.

Congress has until the end of Friday to figure out a way to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Otherwise, the department shuts down. But a "shutdown" doesn't mean workers go home. Instead, the vast majority of transportation security officers will have to keep showing up for work — but they won't be seeing paychecks until lawmakers find a way out.

For transportation security officers, it's a bad memory replaying way too soon.

A Case Of Deja Vu

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