Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio and digital content as well as the NPR Politics Podcast. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. Previously, she was the executive assistant to the senior vice president for news at NPR. Sprunt was an intern at NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, where she produced the "Three-Minute Fiction" segment, and NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and a Pennsylvania native.

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.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

President Trump says he may consider grounding some or all flights as a coronavirus pandemic mitigation measure but also said on Wednesday he wants to apply the lightest touch possible in managing the disaster.

Lagging in the Democratic presidential primary and facing the unique challenge of running for office amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is still assessing his campaign's future.

"It's changing every day because elections are being delayed," Sanders said in an interview with Morning Edition's Noel King.

"Where do we go from here with the elections that are being delayed, where we can't go out and hold rallies or knock on doors? That's what we're looking at right now," Sanders said.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

President Trump told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came ahead of the White House's regular news conference on its response to the pandemic.

Roughly 50,000 Instagram viewers got a taste of what a White House briefing from the coronavirus task force would be like if only the doctor, not President Trump, answered questions.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Thursday

The White House's pandemic task force convened another briefing on Wednesday afternoon amid a tense denouement for legislation aimed at helping an economy poleaxed by the disaster.

Last-minute objections on Wednesday delayed the Senate vote until late in the evening, when it passed on a vote of 96 to 0.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

In the midst of Senate negotiations on a massive stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic, House Democrats have drafted their own counterproposal titled the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican bill before the Senate puts "corporations first, not workers and families."

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced on Saturday.

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

The White House sought to show that it's in control of the sprawling coronavirus crisis on Friday even as it acknowledged enduring shortfalls in key supplies.

Administration officials also said they're imposing new controls on travel and restricting passage through the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico following agreements with those governments.

Here were some key points from the latest briefing.

Too few tests

President Trump signed a second coronavirus emergency aid package into law Wednesday evening, after it passed with overwhelming support from the Senate.

The legislation follows a first emergency funding bill, which allocated roughly $8 billion for coronavirus prevention, preparation and response efforts.

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

Updated at 9:36 p.m. ET

Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund investor and environmental activist who staked his campaign on a strong finish in South Carolina, suspended his presidential campaign on Saturday.

Steyer aggressively courted the black vote in the state, with a focus on racial and economic justice but had a disappointing finish. Former Vice President Joe Biden was projected to win the state.

In a small room in one of the U.S. House office buildings on Friday, newly-elected members of Congress, along with their staff and press, were squished together for one of the last activities of congressional orientation: the office lottery.

The lottery is the answer to how incoming freshmen get to pick their office spaces. Since no member has seniority, it's all a game of chance.

Veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala doesn't think it's hyperbolic to say that "everything" is at stake for Democrats heading into Tuesday's elections.

"They always say it's the most important election of your life," he says, explaining that in the past two years, Democrats learned the consequences of being "completely shut out" as the GOP controlled both Congress and the White House.

If Democrats fail to take back the House and make significant gains at the state level, they'll be shut out again, without a say in legislation and judicial appointments.

Keeping control of the House would validate President Trump's governing style and mean full speed ahead for Hill Republicans to move his agenda. But if the GOP loses its majority it will need to to go on defense to protect Trump.

When the Democrats lost the House in 2010, they rapidly saw President Barack Obama's legislative agenda die.

Scroll through Orrin Hatch's Twitter feed and you'll see fairly routine tweets from the Republican senator from Utah: support for President Trump's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, and promotion of legislation Hatch backs.

But late Monday evening, Hatch's official Twitter account posted a tweet to Google, saying, "We might need to talk."

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

With little more than a week before President Trump announces his nominee to the highest court in the land, Trump sought to downplay some of his past comments about making opposition to legalized abortion a litmus test for his Supreme Court picks.

There is arguably nothing grander in the nation's capital than a state dinner.

The red carpet gets rolled out, the silverware is shined, and the guest list of coveted invitations is winnowed down.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., remains hospitalized after multiple surgeries in the wake of Wednesday's shooting in Alexandria, Va., during a morning baseball practice for Republican members of Congress.

Scalise joins a long list of members of Congress shot while in office:

Editor's note: This story contains language that some may find offensive.

At the end of October, Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa., and released a plan for his first 100 days in office.

The day that everyone has been talking about is finally here. While millions of Americans have already cast their ballots in early-voting states, the majority of votes will be cast today.

NPR will have live results as polls close at 7 p.m. ET right here on NPR.org and on your local NPR station.

Donald Trump is expected to announce his running mate any day now, and speculation is swirling about whom he might pick.

A vice presidential choice is a critical one for the Republican presumptive nominee. Not only has he never held elective office, but he still hasn't united his party around his controversial candidacy. More social media missteps this week and comments praising former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein unsettled GOP leaders even more.

The four remaining Republican presidential candidates met in Miami for their last debate before the March 15 primary contests.

The debate, sponsored by CNN, occurred just days after Donald Trump won the Michigan and Mississippi primaries and the Hawaii caucuses. The only other candidate with a March 8 victory was Sen. Ted Cruz, who won the Idaho primary. Trump continues to lead in the delegate count by almost 100 delegates — 458 to Cruz's 359 delegates.

Which candidate had the longest talking time?

As always, NPR had its stopwatch at the ready.

Four Republican presidential candidates took the stage tonight in the first debate following the huge Super Tuesday contests, where Donald Trump dominated. Although Ben Carson remains in the race, he chose not to join his fellow candidates for tonight's debate.

The debate, hosted by Fox News, was moderated in part by Megyn Kelly. Kelly and Trump have previously clashed, which led to him skipping an earlier debate.