Brian Naylor

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk.

In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies, including transportation and homeland security.

With more than 30 years of experience at NPR, Naylor has served as National Desk correspondent, White House correspondent, congressional correspondent, foreign correspondent and newscaster during All Things Considered. He has filled in as host on many NPR programs, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many of the major world events, including political conventions, the Olympics, the White House, Congress and the mid-Atlantic region. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill, and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine.

While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor's reporting contributed to NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism award for political reporting.

Before coming to NPR in 1982, Naylor worked at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at a commercial radio station in Maine.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine.

Senators opened hearings Wednesday on gun violence with a surprise visit from former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, herself a shooting victim. "Too many children are dying," she told senators. What they should do, however, remained contentious as lawmakers heard from panelists — the NRA, the police and a lawyer among them who disagreed on solutions.

President Obama's proposed renewal of a ban on assault-style weapons is expected to be based on the legislation approved by Congress in 1994 that expired 10 years later.

But when the first assault weapons ban was approved — outlawing 19 specific weapons — it was a very different time, and Congress was a very different place.

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After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group's discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

With negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" uncertain at best, the Obama administration is trying to tamp down anxiety in the federal workforce.

The administration's message to various federal agencies is that there will be little immediate effect on public employees from the budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week if a deal is not reached. Treasury Department employees, for instance, were told not to expect "day to day operations to change dramatically on or immediately after January 2."

For workers, of course, that's good news.

The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.

The idea was met with immediate criticism from Democrats in Congress.

The airline industry predicts some 42 million of us will be flying this holiday season, and that this weekend before Christmas will be one of the busiest periods.

For tips on how to get through what's expected to be some long security lines, we turn to the Transportation Security Administration's Lisa Farbstein. She says there's a useful guide on the TSA's homepage that allows you to type in an item to see if it's allowed in your carry-on, as well as a mobile app.

As the holiday travel season approaches, the Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights.

Passengers can now use devices such as Kindles, iPads and Nooks while in flight, but not during takeoffs and landings. The FAA says it is studying the matter, but the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and a U.S. senator say it's time to act.

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South Carolina is getting a new U.S. senator. Governor Nikki Haley announced today that she is appointing Republican Congressman Tim Scott to fill the seat being vacated by Jim DeMint who's retiring. Scott is a freshman member of the House.

And as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, he will be the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction.

Among the loose ends that lawmakers would like to tie up before the end of this lame-duck session is the farm bill, which is made up mostly of crop subsidies and food stamps.

The last farm bill expired in September. The Senate has passed a new one; the House has not. Farm-state lawmakers are urging leaders to include a farm bill as part of any budget deal to avert year-end tax increases and spending cuts.

But not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

Billions in damages and not enough in the bank account — that's where federal officials find themselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The White House says it will send an emergency funding request to Capitol Hill this week — expected to be $50 billion to $60 billion. Top administrators told Congress on Wednesday that they want at least some of that money to go toward preventing the kind of devastation caused by Sandy and other recent storms.

Political leaders from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have not been shy about their intent to seek as much federal funding as possible for their storm-struck states. Damages and lost economic activity as a result of Hurricane Sandy have been estimated as high as $50 billion.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., wants $30 billion in federal assistance to help rebuild his state. This request, and others, come at a time when Congress is already consumed with reducing the deficit.

Following Superstorm Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has received good grades from politicians and even some survivors of the storm. In part, that's due to lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.

For Staten Island resident Deb Smith, whose house was flooded by the storm surge from Sandy, FEMA has been a savior.

Official Washington shut down today for Hurricane Sandy, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was on the job. It's mission: preparedness. Among other things, the agency is stockpiling water, meals, blankets and cots.

Women's issues were back front and center in politics on Wednesday after Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said in a debate Tuesday night that when a rape results in pregnancy "it is something that God intended to happen." Democrats pounced and Mitt Romney distanced himself from the remarks. But the Romney campaign did not ask Mourdock to pull down a TV ad Romney taped for him. Mourdock is in a tight race with Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in an overall fierce contest for control of the U.S. Senate.

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Yesterday on the program we reported on Paul Ryan's debating style. We're going to do the same now for his opponent, Vice President Biden, who's an experienced debater. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

Now that Missouri Republican Todd Akin is not dropping out of the Senate race against incumbent Claire McCaskill, the GOP is rethinking how distant it wants to remain from him. Akin became toxic for remarks about "legitimate rape" — but the GOP Senate map nationwide is looking increasingly grim.

For those of you who feel you've had quite enough of the political ads airing every night on your TV screens, well, get ready for another sort of deluge.

In the coming weeks, candidates will bombard your mailboxes with ads. It may seem old-fashioned, but the consultants who devise direct-mail campaigns have become sophisticated about knowing whom to reach and what to say.

"It's almost because of the changing media landscape that direct mail remains relevant," says Anil Mammen, who runs a small direct-mail shop in Washington, D.C.

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Now, to the potential political implications of the strike and how it might shake up the presidential race. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

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Republican Rep. Todd Akin's decision to stay in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri is likely to leave him with support from the state's evangelical community, but not much more, says a political scientist at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Four years ago in Denver, Artur Davis took the podium at the Democratic National Convention to speak up for Barack Obama.

"I am honored to second the nomination of the man whose victory tonight takes us closer to becoming what we know America can be," he said.

But now, as President Obama seeks re-election, Davis is on the list of scheduled speakers for the Republican National Convention.

The former Democratic congressman from Alabama, who tried and failed to become the state's first black governor, is now a Republican resident of Virginia.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, has staked out a reputation in Congress as a fiscal conservative. He has spoken out against President Obama's efforts to jump-start the economy with the stimulus law and, after a conversion a few years ago, now opposes earmarks. But when it comes to helping out his district in southern Wisconsin, Ryan's principles have been flexible.

In Norfolk, Va. on Saturday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced that his running mate is Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin. What does Ryan bring to the table, and will it be enough?

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MITT ROMNEY: It's an honor to announce my running mate and the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan.

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U.S. Representative Todd Akin pulled an upset victory on Tuesday in the Missouri GOP primary. His win may have given incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill her best shot at re-election for a highly contested seat. Akin is a six-term House member from the St. Louis suburbs, and known as an ultra-conservative. He came from behind to beat a businessman who spent more than $7 million of his own money and a former state treasurer backed by Sarah Palin.

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With his much-publicized foreign trip behind him, Mitt Romney traveled yesterday to the swing state of Colorado. He huddled with Republican governors who he praised on him in Aspen, where he also held a fundraiser. The Republican candidate began his trip at a rally in the Denver suburb of Golden, which is where NPR's Brian Naylor begins his report.

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