Liz Halloran

Liz Halloran joined NPR in December 2008 as Washington correspondent for Digital News, taking her print journalism career into the online news world.

Halloran came to NPR from US News & World Report, where she followed politics and the 2008 presidential election. Before the political follies, Halloran covered the Supreme Court during its historic transition — from Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death, to the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation battles. She also tracked the media and wrote special reports on topics ranging from the death penalty and illegal immigration, to abortion rights and the aftermath of the Amish schoolgirl murders.

Before joining the magazine, Halloran was a senior reporter in the Hartford Courant's Washington bureau. She followed Sen. Joe Lieberman on his ground-breaking vice presidential run in 2000, as the first Jewish American on a national ticket, wrote about the media and the environment and covered post-9/11 Washington. Previously, Halloran, a Minnesota native, worked for The Courant in Hartford. There, she was a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning team for spot news in 1999, and was honored by the New England Associated Press for her stories on the Kosovo refugee crisis.

She also worked for the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Conn., and as a cub reporter and paper delivery girl for her hometown weekly, the Jackson County Pilot.

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4:15pm

Tue January 21, 2014
It's All Politics

Critics Seize On Blurry Details In Wendy Davis Story

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:36 pm

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis takes part in an interview Monday in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay AP

Wendy Davis' meteoric rise, from Texas state senator who barely won re-election to Democratic candidate for governor and darling of the national party, has hinged on her powerful personal story and a famous filibuster.

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1:46pm

Fri January 17, 2014
It's All Politics

Tom Coburn, GOP Budget Hawk And Obama Friend, To Leave Senate

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:12 pm

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., outlines his annual "Wastebook," which points a critical finger at billions of dollars in questionable government spending, on Dec. 17 on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Tom Coburn will leave the Senate with a reputation as "Dr. No," but not necessarily as doctrinaire.

The Oklahoma Republican, who at age 65 is undergoing his fifth bout of cancer, announced that he will resign in December, two years before his second term expires.

"This decision isn't about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires," Coburn, a physician, said in a statement. "As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere."

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11:28am

Thu January 16, 2014
It's All Politics

Doctors Say Reid's Request For Bowel Research Money Is No Joke

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:47 am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada talks about unemployment benefits during a news conference Thursday.
Susan Walsh AP

In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.

But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.

It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.

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3:12pm

Tue January 14, 2014
It's All Politics

Christie Concedes 'Mistakes Were Made' In Bridge Scandal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address Tuesday in Trenton, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, engulfed in scandal over the politically motivated closing of bridge access lanes and questions about how he spent federal Hurricane Sandy aid, pledged Tuesday to "cooperate with all appropriate inquiries."

In his annual State of the State speech from the State Capitol in Trenton, the two-term Republican governor made quick work of the George Washington Bridge controversy, which hopelessly snarled traffic in the city of Fort Lee for days. The circumstances surrounding the episode have clouded the prospects of a potential presidential bid in 2016.

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3:02pm

Mon January 13, 2014
It's All Politics

High Court's Pass On 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Case Unlikely To Cool Debate

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 12:02 pm

Susan Walsh AP

A new class of restrictive abortion laws, passed in recent years in a swath of states, hinges on the argument that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.

But the fetal pain assertion, viewed skeptically by many scientists, hit a bump Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling striking down an Arizona law that criminalized abortions at 20 weeks.

The state's ban asserted that "unborn children feel pain during an abortion at that gestational age." Federal courts last year also blocked similar "fetal pain" laws in Idaho and Georgia.

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2:37pm

Thu January 9, 2014
It's All Politics

Gates Unleashed: Ex-Defense Chief Goes Scorched Earth On Congress

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:14 pm

In his new memoir, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is unsparing in his criticism of Congress.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made international news this week with the release of a memoir that serves up a big helping of unvarnished criticism of his former boss, President Obama.

But his scalding of the sitting commander in chief seems practically tame compared to the beat down he delivers to members of Congress.

And that includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who, Gates asserts, once urged him to have the Defense Department "invest in research on irritable bowel syndrome."

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9:41am

Thu January 9, 2014
It's All Politics

How Long Is Too Long? Congress Revisits Mandatory Sentences

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:14 am

Inmates walk around a recreation yard at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif., in January 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug dealers were once viewed as powerful levers in the nation's war against drugs, a way to target traffickers, and punish kingpins and masterminds.

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3:27pm

Mon January 6, 2014
It's All Politics

Democrats Tackle Politics Of Income Inequality

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:26 pm

White House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday. With Congress back, the Senate is expected to work on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama and fellow Democrats, just back from a long holiday break, are immediately embracing a legislative agenda that would increase the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance benefits to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless in America.

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12:42pm

Fri January 3, 2014
It's All Politics

Clay Aiken's Political Reality: Results Mixed For Stars Like Him

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:19 pm

Clay Aiken performs a special one night only concert at the Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, N.C., in March 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

Reality television star Clay Aiken set the political class chattering Friday with rumors that he may run for Congress.

Frozen in time as the elfin man-child of American Idol fame, the runner-up from a decade ago is reportedly considering running as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina.

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3:54pm

Thu January 2, 2014
It's All Politics

Partisan Evolution Gap? Politically Insignificant, GOP Says

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:45 pm

A display of a series of skeletons showing the evolution of humans at the Peabody Museum, New Haven, Conn., circa 1935.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

A new national survey showing that the share of Republicans who believe in evolution has tumbled from 54 to 43 percent over the past four years comes at an inopportune time.

The Pew Research poll suggests that the GOP, already struggling with an identity crisis and facing ferocious internal battles, is out of sync on the issue with independents and young voters, who are far more likely to believe in the science of evolution than their forebears.

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2:12pm

Tue December 24, 2013
Politics

'Living Wage' Effort Eclipsed By Minimum-Pay Battles

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 3:08 pm

Wheelchair attendant Erick Conley (left) assists an elderly passenger at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash. The small city recently raised the minimum wage to $15 for many airport jobs.
Elaine Thompson AP

The close of 2013 has been marked by a vigorous national debate over income inequality, the plight of low-wage workers in America and the effect of boosting mandatory minimum wages.

The debate was magnified when Wal-Mart got unwanted attention for a store-based holiday food drive for its own needy workers, and when President Obama announced his support for legislation that would raise the national minimum hourly wage of $7.25 for the first time since 2007.

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12:35pm

Fri December 20, 2013
Architecture

Makeover USA: Short, 'Dowdy' D.C. Considers High Heels

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 2:06 pm

The skyline of Washington, D.C., including the Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall. The tall buildings in the distance are in Virginia.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

The powers that be in Washington are typically, though certainly not always, wrestling with weighty issues.

Recently, they've also been debating height, and whether they prefer a stout, familiar dowager, or a taller, sleeker model.

Building heights, people: We're talking building heights in your nation's capital, where for more than a century the 1910 Building Height Act has kept the city's profile low.

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12:37pm

Tue December 17, 2013
It's All Politics

Obama's Year Of Disappointing The Liberal Base

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:56 am

President Obama talks about drones and national security earlier this year at the National Defense University in Washington.
Carolyn Kaster AP

It's been a long, disappointing year for many of President Obama's most ardent supporters.

From drones and Syria to immigration and the Keystone XL pipeline, the list of issues on which the president has induced frustration and disillusionment is not a short one.

And fallout from that restive base is reflected in Obama's dismal year-end poll numbers.

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3:19pm

Fri December 13, 2013
It's All Politics

Cost Of Battling Filibuster Rules: No Sleep Or Fundraising

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:31 pm

When Senate Democrats voted last month to limit the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees, inside-the-Beltway hand-wringing commenced.

The Senate would never be the same without a 60-vote threshold on controversial matters! Just wait and see the dysfunction! The retribution!

Gregory Koger, historian and pre-eminent expert on the filibuster, was not among the doomsayers.

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12:33pm

Fri December 13, 2013
It's All Politics

Tourists At The Border: Should Mental Illness Halt U.S. Entry?

Cars entering the U.S. pass a welcome sign at the border crossing between the U.S. and Canada, in Blaine, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP

The headline was enough to infuriate any privacy-loving North American.

"Disabled Woman Denied Entry To U.S. After Agent Cites Supposedly Private Medical Details," read the topper of a recent story in the Toronto Star.

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9:46am

Wed December 11, 2013
Law

No Cake For You: Saying 'I Don't' To Same-Sex Marriage

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 2:15 pm

A Colorado judge recently ordered Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to serve gay couples, after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lindsay Pierce Denver Post via Getty Images

There were a few snickers when a Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

A cake? What's the big deal?

But the decision, handed down late last week, is just the latest slice in a debate that has gone front burner with gay marriage now legalized in 16 states, and counting.

Can individual businesspeople like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver be compelled to provide wedding (or commitment ceremony) goods and services to gay couples?

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12:06pm

Sun December 8, 2013
It's All Politics

Debate On Wage And Wealth Gap Heats Up; Solutions Elusive

Protesters in Boston march in the parking lot of a Burger King as part of a nation-wide protest supporting higher wages for workers in the fast-food industry.
Stephan Savoia AP

The national debate about income equality and low-wage labor ramped up this week as fast-food workers across the country rallied for better pay and President Obama assailed the nation's growing income gap as the "defining challenge of our time."

Meanwhile, an $11.50 minimum wage bill was approved in the nation's capital, and giant discount retailer Wal-Mart opened its first Washington stores — accompanied by a flurry of ads defending the company's often-criticized pay and benefits practices.

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4:20am

Thu December 5, 2013
It's All Politics

GOP Family Feud: 'Showboat' DeMint Takes on 'Tyrant' McConnell

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:26 am

Former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, at a news conference earlier this year.
Evan Vucci AP

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is more than a little aggravated with the Senate Conservatives Fund, and who can blame him.

The youngish but well-financed Tea Party organization has targeted McConnell, a five-termer from Kentucky and highest-ranking Senate Republican, by helping to bankroll a primary challenger and using the race as an intraparty, us vs. them proxy.

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3:17pm

Tue November 26, 2013
It's All Politics

You Can Vote, You Can Enlist — But Can You Buy A Cigarette?

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:22 pm

Cigarette packs are displayed at a convenience store in New York City, which has raised the age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.
Mark Lennihan AP

So, a uniformed Marine walks into a convenience store, and says to the clerk, "Pack of Marlboro Reds, in a box — and some matches."

The clerk gives the Marine the once over and says, "Sorry, son, but you look a bit young to be buying smokes. You 21?"

That potential scenario, in a nutshell, is the most common argument against a small but nascent movement to increase the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

You can fight in a war at age 18, and vote in elections, but you can't buy cigarettes until your 21st birthday?

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5:07am

Fri November 22, 2013
It's All Politics

Wal-Mart Food Drive Unwittingly Fuels Talk Of Minimum Wage Hike

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 8:51 am

Dozens of people protest for better wages outside a Los Angeles Wal-Mart store on Nov. 7.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters/Landov

Wal-Mart's pay practices have long been targeted by advocates of America's working poor.

So it was no surprise that it became national news when the discount retailer, the nation's biggest employer, asked workers at an Ohio store to contribute to a holiday food drive — for fellow workers.

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