Ron Elving

Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.

Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.

Under Elving's leadership, NPR has been awarded the industry's top honors for political coverage including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 2002 duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Merriman Smith Award for White House reporting from the White House Correspondents Association and the Barone Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Before joining NPR in 1999, Elving served as political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, Elving served as a reporter and state capital bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was a media fellow at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Over his career, Elving has written articles published by The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, and the American Political Science Association. He was a contributor and editor for eight reference works published by Congressional Quarterly Books from 1990 to 2003. His book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. Recently, Elving contributed the chapter, "Fall of the Favorite: Obama and the Media," to James Thurber's Obama in Office: The First Two Years.

Elving teaches public policy in the school of Public Administration at George Mason University and has also taught at Georgetown University, American University and Marquette University.

With an bachelor's degree from Stanford, Elving went on to earn master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley.

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It's All Politics
6:16 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Amazingly, Congress Actually Got Something Done

House Speaker John Boehner takes the gavel from Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Jan. 6 at the start of the 114th Congress.
Mark Wilson Getty

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 6:58 pm

They said it couldn't be done. And for more than a decade they were right.

But on Thursday, staring at a deadline that could have disrupted health care to millions of seniors, the House got something done.

It voted to fix the flawed formula for compensating doctors who provide services to patients under Medicare. But this time it wasn't just a patch for a few months or years — like the ones Congress has done 17 times since 2003.

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It's All Politics
11:21 am
Wed March 25, 2015

With Sen. Dan Coats' Retirement, One More Gone From The Old School

Sen. Dan Coats on midterm election night in 2014.
AJ Mast AP

Senate Republican Dan Coats of Indiana announced Tuesday — probably surprising no one — that he would not seek another term in 2016. Although he has been a stalwart Republican through a turbulent generation in Washington, Coats seems less at home in the hyper-partisan world of Congress today.

While Coats, 71, said his decision was strictly personal and age-related, he did refer to the "terribly dysfunctional Senate" in an interview with the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter.

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Mon March 23, 2015

5 Reasons Cruz Announced His Candidacy Early

Sen. Ted Cruz needs buzz, money and to be taken seriously. He hopes he can accomplish that by getting in early.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 9:48 am

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has apparently had enough of the fig leaf most presidential candidates wear as their unofficial spring costume the year before the election actually happens.

That is a bold stroke, but entirely in keeping with the go-for-broke style the junior senator from Texas has exhibited since first challenging the Republican establishment's candidate for the Senate in 2012.

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It's All Politics
8:03 am
Thu March 19, 2015

A First For Joe: Biden Could Break Tie To Confirm Attorney General

Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner wait for President Obama's State of the Union address in front of a joint session of Congress in 2012. As vice president, Biden is also leader of the U.S. Senate, but only gets a vote when senators are evenly divided.
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 10:55 am

Vice President Joe Biden has been more visible than almost any of his 46 predecessors in the nation's No. 2 office. He's had more access to the Oval Office and more input on policy than all but a handful.

But there is one VP duty Biden has never fulfilled, because he's never had a chance: He has never broken a tie in the Senate, which is a salient VP responsibility embedded in the Constitution. In these past six years and two months, there hasn't been a Senate tie to break.

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Politics
12:11 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Hillary Clinton Renews Tradition Of Trial By News Conference

Former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton faces the media Tuesday over her use of a private server and email account she used to conduct public business.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 6:43 pm

In the days ahead, strenuous efforts will be made to prove or disprove the assertions Hillary Clinton made in her news conference Tuesday regarding her email accounts. The fate of Clinton's presumed presidential candidacy will depend on that struggle.

Or not.

In past presidential cycles we have seen many a news conference where careers on the national stage seemed to hang in the balance. Some of these moments have led to redemption, others to utter disaster. And still others have proved inconclusive, with other factors determining the candidate's fate.

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It's All Politics
11:01 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Wild Day In Madison Likely To Be Another Win For Gov. Walker

Protesters filled Wisconsin's state Capitol in Madison on Monday, demonstrating against last weekend's shooting death of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black man.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 8:21 pm

You could scarcely imagine a day that better demonstrated the split personality of Wisconsin politics.

On Monday, the state Capitol building in Madison was flooded once again with an angry crowd of protesters. This time the outrage was sparked by a local police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old black man.

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It's All Politics
4:21 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Failed Keystone Veto Override Marks Another Win For Veto Pen

President Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., in 2012 after renewed momentum in Congress to approve construction of the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Congress mustered big majorities for the Keystone XL, which you might think would mean that pipeline would soon be under construction to carry Canadian crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.

But you would be forgetting the presidential veto, which President Obama signed on Feb. 24 with little or no fanfare.

Wednesday, the Senate put an end to years of legislative effort by upholding the Obama veto. The Senate voted 62 to 37 in favor of the override, but it wasn't enough.

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It's All Politics
10:01 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Why Congress Doesn't Really Worry About What Most Americans Think

The heightened partisanship cemented in congressional districts has created havens for both Democrats and Republicans, whose job security now often depends more on pleasing primary voters than on the high-altitude questions facing the nation at large.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 1:27 pm

With each week, we have come to expect another jarring outrage from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the new breed of terrorists that is redefining terror.

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Politics
11:39 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Why Convention Sites Don't Make Very Good Swing State Strategy

If the Democrats do win Pennsylvania, it won't be because they had their convention in Philadelphia, which is already a mother lode of Democratic votes. And if the Republicans wind up winning Ohio, it won't be because they won over a lot of precincts in Cleveland, which is a similarly rich trove of Democratic support in elections at all levels.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:04 pm

Put it in the category of things we know for sure that just ain't so.

No sooner did the Democratic National Committee announce it had chosen Philadelphia, Pa., as its 2016 convention site than a lot of us political analyst types popped out the conventional wisdom about "appealing to a swing state in the general election."

It sounds good and it makes sense, as far as it goes. It just doesn't go very far.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Tue February 10, 2015

In White House Memory, A-U-M-F Translates To B-U-S-H

President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, vowing to tap "every resource" to fight terrorism. Two days before the speech, he had signed an Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress.
WIN MACNAMEE AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 9:26 am

Update: 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

President Obama has sent Congress proposed legislative language that would grant him specific permission to make war on the group calling itself the Islamic State.

If approved by the House and Senate, that language will formalize the struggle against the Sunni extremists who are also known as ISIS or ISIL — and are best known for such actions as the torture killing of a captive Jordanian pilot and the beheading of other hostages from around the world.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Life In The 'New' Washington: In Your Face! No, In YOUR Face!

President Obama delivers remarks during a meeting with people who wrote him letters explaining how they benefited from the Affordable Care Act in the White House on Tuesday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 7:28 pm

President Obama entertained a group of Americans on Tuesday in the intimate Roosevelt Room at the White House, thanking them for their written testimonials to the benefits of his Affordable Care Act. A few hours later, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the ACA in its entirety.

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It's All Politics
1:46 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Abortion Vote Shows How Much Democrats' World Has Changed

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., announces he will vote to pass the health care reform bill after President Obama agreed to sign an executive order reaffirming the ban on the use of federal funds to provide abortions, March 21, 2010.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:25 am

This week, Congress returns with House leaders vowing to revisit the anti-abortion bill they pulled off the floor last week. The ban on abortions after 20 weeks was withdrawn when it appeared there weren't enough Republican votes to pass it.

Why did it need quite so many Republican votes? Because the GOP can no longer count on a contingent of Democrats to help out on abortion-related votes.

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It's All Politics
10:06 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Says Climate Change Real, But Not Really Our Fault

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., was the only senator to vote against an amendment calling climate change "real and not a hoax."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:20 pm

Breathtakingly broad as its jurisdiction may be, the U.S. Senate does not usually vote on the validity of scientific theories.

This week, it did. And science won. The Senate voted that climate change is real, and not a hoax. The vote was 98-1.

The vote was about an amendment to the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The near-unanimity of the climate change judgment was notable, because so many senators have cast doubt on ideas of "global warming."

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It's All Politics
6:27 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Obama State Of The Union Seeks To 'Turn The Page' To A Brighter Chapter

Mandel Ngan AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:25 am

In the first minute of his hourlong State of the Union address, President Barack Obama summed up his theme in single sentence: "Tonight, we turn the page."

The president then detailed a page of history filled with the financial crisis of 2008, the recession and unemployment and deficits that followed and the two distant and difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was a reminder of the ills that helped elevate young Sen. Obama to the Oval Office six years ago. And now, after many battles, he was ready to declare he had turned that page.

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Obama Joins Ike, The Gipper, Bill And George II In A Club No One Wants To Be In

President Dwight Eisenhower delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of the 86th Congress in 1959. Behind him are Vice President Richard Nixon (left) and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:06 pm

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

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It's All Politics
10:06 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Iowa's Sen. Ernst Grabs Spotlight That's Often Proven Too Hot

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will deliver the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:43 am

On the one hand, having the just-elected senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address next week makes perfect sense.

On the other hand, you have to wonder why anyone would want the job. As often as not, the opportunity to speak right after the president does has been the kiss of death for aspiring politicians — especially in the GOP during the Obama years.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Wed January 14, 2015

What If Mitt And Jeb Really Do Go At It, Hammer And Tongs?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (right) talks with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Romney's campaign plane in 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 3:44 pm

Pity the poor guys who are trying to run for president while still serving as governors.

All the media attention this week went to former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, because Romney suddenly decided to call in his chits and get back in the presidential conversation for 2016. Virtually every news organization in North America instantly got wide-eyed about it.

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It's All Politics
10:46 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Still Just A Bill: Why Being Senate Bill 1 Doesn't Guarantee Success

Legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline is the latest Senate Bill 1. President Obama has vowed to veto it.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 2:37 pm

On his first day in his new job, freshly minted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., designated the Keystone XL pipeline bill as Senate Bill 1 --the first legislation introduced under his leadership.

That signaled more than just McConnell's own support for the bill. The prestige of being S-1 also conveys a sense of the priority and urgency Senate Republicans in general attach to the project, which would permit the pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canada border and carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

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It's All Politics
1:59 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

5 Signs We're Not In Post-Partisan Paradise Yet

Speaker John Boehner is handed the gavel by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after being re-elected for a third term to lead the 114th Congress.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 10:11 am

If you follow the latest fashions in Washington politics, you've surely noticed the new look for 2015. It's all about "showing we can govern" and putting the flamboyant partisan stylings of past years behind us.

Unfortunately, this week the new political season opened in Washington, and that latest theme took a pratfall as soon as it reached the runway. All the cheery holiday talk about consensus and working together seemed forgotten overnight.

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Politics
4:53 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

6 Reasons Size Matters To The New GOP Majorities In Congress

The 114th Congress opens Tuesday, swearing in the most House Republicans since 1947. But how much does the numbers game really matter now?
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 1:12 pm

The 114th Congress opens Tuesday with 246 Republicans taking the oath of office in the House. That's the most the GOP has sworn in since 1947, when the same number arrived for the 80th Congress intent on challenging Democratic President Harry Truman.

For a time, it had appeared that the new 114th majority would eclipse that of the 80th by one. But then Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and, after a sit-down with Speaker John Boehner a week ago, agreed to resign.

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