Juana Summers

Juana Summers is a congressional reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.

Prior to coming to NPR, Summers spent nearly four years as a reporter for POLITICO, where she focused on political and campaign coverage, primarily the 2012 Republican primaries and general election. During the Republican presidential primaries she covered Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman. She then traveled with Paul Ryan after he accepted the Republican vice presidential nomination. After the 2012 election, Summers began covering defense policy and veterans issues on Capitol Hill.

Summers has her reporting roots in Missouri. She has covered statewide and local politics for the Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as well as KBIA-FM.

Her work has also been featured in the Austin American-Statesman and The Washington Post.

Summers is a regular guest host for C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" and a frequent guest on CNN's "Inside Politics", MSNBC's "Weekends With Alex Witt" and other cable news programs. She was a commentator for BET during the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Summers served one term on the board of directors of the Online News Association, the largest non-profit organization of digital journalists. She is an alumna of the Chips Quinn Scholars program, the New York Times Journalism Institute and the Society of Professional Journalists Reporters Institute.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Summers is a graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism. She is also currently pursuing a master's degree in media management from the Missouri School of Journalism.

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home . We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world. As Martin O'Malley neared the launch of his presidential campaign, the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor said he wouldn't think of announcing his bid "anyplace else," even as the city exploded with riots after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who was fatally injured while in police custody....

The argument over genetically modified food has been dominated, in recent years, by a debate over food labels — specifically, whether those labels should reveal the presence of GMOs. The battle, until now, has gone state by state. California refused to pass a labeling initiative, but Maine, Connecticut and Vermont have now passed laws in favor of GMO labeling. Opponents of GMO labeling, including some of the biggest food manufacturers, have turned to Congress, and this week they achieved...

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate are working to rewrite No Child Left Behind. That's George W. Bush's signature education law that was passed in 2001. NPR's Juana Summers covers Congress and joins us with the latest. Hey, Juana. JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: Thanks for having me. GREENE: So why is this rewrite happening? SUMMERS: This rewrite's happening because No Child Left Behind hasn't done...

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home . We're going to the places that presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world. Greg Demetri hit the jackpot. When he picked the location for Villa Toscana, his nearly one-year-old Italian restaurant on the main stretch of businesses in Central, S.C., he had no idea that the building had once been owned by the town's most famous resident, Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham, a South Carolina...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: President Obama suffered a setback yesterday when Democrats in the House of Representatives scuttled his bid for expanded powers to negotiate a trade deal. The Democrats voted down part of the legislation that passed the Senate. That would've aided people who lost jobs to overseas workers. This stalled the bill to allow the president to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership pact. Republican...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PQ6p44e50k This post has been updated to note that Graham has now officially gotten into the race for president. South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham officially announced that he is getting into the presidential race Monday morning in Central, S.C., the small upstate town where he was raised. Graham, 59, is the senior senator from South Carolina and one of the few in the crowded Republican primary field with military experience. He says he's running for president...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IywoVNE_WEI Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday, with a speech at Baltimore's Federal Hill Park. His announcement was quintessentially Baltimore with a venue well-known to area residents and the addition of the local Kelly Bell Band booked as entertainment. But as O'Malley prepares to launch his bid, he'll do so as the city he once led as mayor is in the middle of its deadliest month in 15...

Back-to-back news conferences by Democratic and Republican House leaders, given from the same podium on Thursday, showed a contrast in how both parties are responding to the politics of a deadly train crash that killed at least eight people and injured scores more. Just one day after the train derailment in Philadelphia — a product of unfortunate timing — the House Appropriations Committee took up a $55 billion transportation and housing bill that includes funding for Amtrak. House...

Cesar Vargas has a resume most young Americans would envy. He graduated from a Brooklyn high school that counts Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders among its alumni. He made honors in both college and law school. But because he was brought to the United States from Mexico illegally when he was 5 years old, he can't fulfill one of his dreams: joining the armed forces. "I do believe that because this country has given me so much, I do want to be able to give back," Vargas said in an...

Once a fast-rising star in the Republican Party, Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock gave his final speech on the House floor Thursday. Schock, who was elected to Congress in 2008, will resign his House seat at the end of the month. His resignation comes after weeks of questions about his judgment, lavish lifestyle and spending. Little of the scandal that plagued Schock's final weeks on Capitol Hill was evident Thursday though, as his farewell speech focused less on his quick fall and more on his rise...

Updated at 12:10 p.m. E.T. Doctors who treat Medicare patients will face a huge cut, 21 percent, if Congress doesn't act by the end of the month. This isn't a new problem. While Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill agree that the formula that pays doctors who treat Medicare patients has long been broken, over the years they've been unable to pass more than temporary patches. But the leaders of the House from both parties have come up with a plan that they think can fix a problem that has...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a01Rg2g2Z8 The divide between Republicans and Democrats on pot politics is narrowing, President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday. "What I'm encouraged by is you're starting to see not just liberal Democrats, but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn't make sense, including sort of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party," the president said in an interview with VICE News. During the wide-ranging interview, Obama noted that...

Congressman Patrick McHenry is a man who knows his beer. The refrigerator in his Capitol Hill office is filled to the brim with it. The Republican's district includes the city of Asheville, N.C., which claims it has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. "Brewers in my district are about not only about the sort of art of brewing, they're about jobs," he tells NPR over a few North Carolina beers. "So these are small business folks that are risk-takers, that are trying to take...

Here's one story in Washington that just won't go away. It's the tale of conservatives who are frustrated with House Speaker John Boehner and want to replace him midsession. The latest murmurs of a coup surfaced after more than 50 Republicans voted against Boehner's plan last week to avert a partial-shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. But ousting a sitting speaker is nearly impossible, and that may be why the would-be Republican plotters aren't trying to make it happen. Why is it...

Update at 6 p.m. ET: Senate To Move Forward On Vote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday afternoon that they would move forward with a vote on a so-called "clean" funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, meaning it would have no policy provisions attached targeting President Obama's immigration policy. "I've spoken with the Democratic leader and my colleagues on the Republican side and commit to offering an amendment to...

Earlier this year, just a couple of weeks into the new Congress, David Stacy and his co-workers at the Human Rights Campaign found out about something they weren't expecting, something most of us wouldn't raise an eyebrow at. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn decided to change the name of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee he is now chairman of. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights dropped the "civil rights" and "human rights." Now it's just the...

Pope Francis will be the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday. Francis will address lawmakers on Sept. 24, Boehner said, as part of his first papal visit to the United States. "We're humbled that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people," the Ohio Republican told reporters. In addition to his trip to Capitol Hill, Francis plans to travel to...

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: House Republicans made an abrupt switch today on an anti-abortion bill. A vote had been scheduled on a measure that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Instead lawmakers went for a bill that bars federal funding for abortions, something that is actually already part of current law. The more innocuous vote happened as anti-abortion demonstrators marched just blocks away. Ahead, more on...

Republican lawmakers of the House and Senate emerged from a rare joint retreat in Hershey, Pa., a town known best for its chocolate, with little to show for it. Unlike last year's House retreat where lawmakers unveiled their principles for an overhaul of the nation's immigration overhauls, there was little grand takeaway. "The most positive thing is we've got a group of new Republican members in the Senate, a group of new Republican members in the House, and we've all had an opportunity to...

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The modern Republican Party is rooted in the South. But there's little evidence of that when it comes to congressional leadership. When the new Congress begins its session, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will lead Senate Republicans. Across the Capitol, though, it's not a Southerner that will wield the gavel. It's Ohio Republican John Boehner, a pragmatist who is ideologically — and geographically — distant from many of the members he will again lead if elected for a third term as speaker of the...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: John McCain was a prisoner of war. He's a longtime Republican senator from Arizona. He made Sarah Palin a household name and turned maverick into a staple of the political lexicon. Well, now, a new role. When Congress returns in January, McCain will lead the Senate Armed Services Committee, which deals with everything from the Pentagon's budget to the war against the so-called Islamic state. NPR's Juana...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: Late last night the House narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion spending package. The immediate impact of the vote is that the federal government will not be shut down. But the debate over the bill revealed a few things - the new clout Republicans will yield in Congress and a growing divide within the Democratic ranks. NPR's Juana Summers reports. JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is...

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Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: You know, there's that belief in sports that when your team is on a roll, things just tend to break your way. And last night Republicans pulled out victory even in a state where they were bracing for the worst - Kansas. It's a deeply conservative, red state where budget cuts and some other issues had two prominent Republicans in trouble. But GOP Senator Pat Roberts hung on, and Governor Sam Brownback...

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is one of the most powerful politicians in America. She's the top-ranking woman in the House GOP, and her political ambitions and trajectory have been debated everywhere from Capitol Hill to the pages of Glamour magazine . But when she walks into locally owned businesses like Maid Naturally in Spokane, Wash., she's just Cathy. In the final week before the election, she stopped by the Spokane-based cleaning business and sits down to chat with co-founders Ruthanne...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k1QUGtvAmc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kGZvwVlWlQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKabnNVUIeQ Even in the bleakest of years, incumbent lawmakers almost always get re-elected. Here's one reason why: They have a powerful built-in advantage in something called constituent services. The casework that congressional staffers tackle runs the gamut from headaches over Social Security checks and IRS problems to veterans' benefits and mortgage issues. These days,...

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