Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his chief primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced on Wednesday the members of a joint task force meant to unify the party ahead of November's general election, bringing together figures from different wings of the party, ranging from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET on May 19

For some members of Congress, an office on Capitol Hill is just, well, an office. But for others, it doubles as their apartment while they live and work in Washington, D.C.

It's a practice Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., would like to see permanently banned.

"You know, they sleep on their couches, they then get up in the morning, sneak downstairs [to] the members' gym, shower, change their clothes, and come back up for work," she describes.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

A U.S. military aide who works at the White House has tested positive for the coronavirus, causing concern that the president may have been exposed.

"We were recently notified by the White House medical unit that a member of the United States military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for coronavirus," said White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley in a statement.

New York state's Democratic presidential primary is back on after a district court judge granted a preliminary injunction on Tuesday to reinstate the contest.

Monday night's Met Gala in New York City may have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn't stop a bold look from appearing on the red carpet. OK, well, it's actually blue carpet.

During a unanimous vote on an agency's inspector general, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., took to the Senate floor while donning a face mask and a vibrant purple wig.

Sinema, whose locks are usually blonde, voted and seemed to identify herself by pointing to her new look, with an expression of, "Yeah, it's me. You knew that, right?"

Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent from western Michigan, announced Tuesday evening that he is exploring a third-party bid for the presidency.

The five-term congressman and critic of President Trump said he's launching an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party's nomination.

"We're ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together," Amash wrote on Twitter. "I'm excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president."

New York Democrats will not be casting primary votes for a presidential candidate this year.

State election officials effectively canceled the presidential primary by removing every Democrat except the presumptive nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, from the primary ballot.

According to multiple reports, Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, received thousands of emails from supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pushing for the primary to continue as planned.

President Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday "temporarily suspending immigration into the United States" in what he calls a response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens," Trump said at the White House Wednesday.

The proclamation, which Trump first announced in a late-night tweet Monday, suspends immigration for people seeking green cards for 60 days.

Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

President Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to have a ways to go on Wednesday before they could agree on details for more relief spending for the coronavirus disaster.

Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET

President Trump acknowledged that he learned only recently about a warning earlier this year from a top adviser about the risks of the coronavirus — but he defended his actions on Tuesday at a news conference.

"I couldn't have done it any better," Trump said about his and the administration's handling of the pandemic.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump said "we certainly want to try" to lift restrictions on life in the U.S. by April 30 but he made no definitive commitment at a news conference on Monday at the White House.

Trump sought to walk a tightrope between grim warnings about a new spike in fatalities forecast for the coming weeks and upbeat exuberance about how well he said the response is going.

"Tremendous progress has been made in a very short period," Trump said.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

In a grim assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump on Saturday predicted that the coming week would be "one of the toughest weeks" of the outbreak. At the same time, the president expressed frustration with the toll that social distancing measures are taking on the economy, saying, "We cannot let this continue."

With data projecting cases in several regions hitting their peaks within seven days, the president told reporters that the United States could see its deadliest week since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET

Just days after the White House coronavirus task force warned Americans to brace for sobering death tolls, the administration is vowing to reimburse hospitals for treating uninsured patients infected with the coronavirus.

During his Thursday night briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump repeated a claim that the United States has done more testing for the contagion on a per capita basis than any other country.

Updated at 7:37 p.m. ET

The government has gone to work disbursing the billions of dollars Washington has committed to sustain the economy after the deep shock it has undergone in the pandemic, the White House promised on Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, vowed that some of the first systems for loans or payments would be up and running as soon as Friday.

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