Ailsa Chang

Ailsa Chang is a Congressional reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.

Since joining NPR in September 2012, Chang has covered the first major gun control legislation to reach Capitol Hill in two decades, recovery efforts after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and a multitude of law enforcement issues, including reforms by the overstretched and underfunded police department in Camden, NJ.

Chang spent six years as a lawyer before becoming a journalist. Prior to coming to NPR, Chang was an investigative reporter at NPR member station WNYC from 2009 to 2012 in New York City where she covered criminal justice and other legal issues.

Chang has received numerous national awards for her investigative reporting. In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her two-part investigative series on the New York City Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policy and allegations of unlawful marijuana arrests by officers. The reports also earned honors from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.

She was also the recipient of the Daniel Schorr Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award, and an honor from Investigative Reporters and Editors for her investigation on how Detroit's broken public defender system leaves lawyers with insufficient resources to effectively represent their clients.

In 2011, the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association named Chang as the winner of the Art Athens Award for General Excellence in Individual Reporting for radio.

Chang graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she received her bachelor's degree. She earned a law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School and has two masters degrees, one in media law from Oxford University where she was a Fulbright Scholar and one in journalism from Columbia University.

She also served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in the chambers of Judge John T. Noonan, Jr.

Chang was a Kroc fellow at NPR from 2008 to 2009. She has also been a reporter and producer for NPR member station KQED in San Francisco.

Chang grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Politics
2:48 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Senate Democrats Use Waning Majority To Push Through Judges

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Politics
3:15 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Siding With Obama On Deportations Hurts Saldana's Bipartisan Support

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Outrage On The Left And Right As Senate Delays Spending Vote

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Congress Runs Up Against Deadline To Pass A Budget

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 4:39 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
2:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Senate May Need Every Minute To Meet Government Funding Deadline

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 4:23 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
2:26 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Congress Pushes Up Against Deadline To Keep Government Funded

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:47 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
2:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Their Senate, Their Rules: GOP May Allow Blocking Of Nominees Again

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves a closed-door policy meeting at the Capitol on Dec. 2. McConnell says he wants to make the Senate work the way it used to, but not all Republicans are on board.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 11:28 am

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says one of his top priorities will be to make the Senate work the way it used to — which would include the use of filibusters to block presidential appointments. But would that improve the way the Senate works? Republicans will be debating that question behind closed doors Tuesday. Many were furious when Democrats eliminated the filibuster for nearly all confirmation votes last year — a change some called the "nuclear option." But now that the GOP will be in the majority, they're not all that eager to go back.

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Politics
3:07 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

GOP Hopes To Use Spending Bill As Leverage Against Immigration Action

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 5:14 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:22 am
Wed November 19, 2014

1 Vote Keeps Keystone XL Pipeline From Senate Passage

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 5:33 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a fight in Congress that either means nothing or means a lot. The Senate voted down a bill to force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Politics
3:05 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Sen. Landrieu Takes Up Keystone Cause Ahead Of Runoff Election

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 7:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:44 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Mitch McConnell's Mission: Making The Senate Work Again

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky walks to his office to meet with new GOP senators-elect at the Capitol on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 3:46 pm

At 72, after 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell has finally realized his life's ambition.

He never wanted to be president — he just wanted to be Senate majority leader. And when he ascends to that perch come January, McConnell will finally have a chance to shape the chamber he says he deeply loves. McConnell declared his first priority will be to make what's been called a paralyzed Senate function again. But the politician who became the face of obstruction over the past four years will have to persuade Democrats to cooperate.

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Politics
3:09 am
Thu November 6, 2014

McConnell Faces Challenges From GOP Conservatives, Obama's Veto Pen

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 3:44 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A bit more than a year ago, President Obama was being criticized once again for his cool relations with Congress. And at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, he joked about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Politics
3:00 am
Wed November 5, 2014

After 8 Years, Republicans Win Control Of U.S. Senate

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 9:58 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There is very little upside for Democrats in yesterday's election results. Think about these names...

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Wendy Davis was a rising Democratic star who lost the Texas governor's race.

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Politics
3:04 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Sen. Mitch McConnell Has More Than Most Riding On Midterm Elections

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky waves while riding with his wife Elaine Chao in the Hopkins County Veterans Day Parade on Sunday in Madisonville. McConnell remains locked in a close race with Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 11:34 am

If Republicans take over the Senate, the man expected to become the next majority leader is Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The title would be the culmination of a political career spanning more than three decades.

But first, McConnell has to win a sixth Senate term in a state where his popularity's been sagging.

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Politics
2:36 am
Mon October 27, 2014

After Sunday Service, Georgia Churches Get Souls To The Polls

Martha Frazier rides a bus to vote in Miami in 2012. This year, Georgia churches are running similar "Souls to the Polls" programs, busing worshipers to early voting locations after Sunday service.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 12:06 pm

At The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, about 700 congregants jam the pews every Sunday morning at 10:30. The church is near the edge of DeKalb County, and it's helping lead a "Souls to the Polls" drive.

Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn is running an extremely tight race for Senate against Republican David Perdue, and the difference between victory and defeat could ride on the African-American vote. The push is on to get voters to turn out early — especially at black churches.

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Politics
2:33 am
Wed October 22, 2014

The 2014 Campaign Ads That You Just Can't Stop Replaying

In this campaign ad, GOP candidate Terri Lynn Land sips coffee after asking the viewer to "think about" accusations that she's waging a war on women.
Terry Land YouTube

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 1:05 pm

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Politics
2:26 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Health Officials Face Ebola Questions On Capitol Hill

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 4:35 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
3:01 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Female Vets Say They'll Put Country First, Even On Capitol Hill

Wendy Rogers was one of the Air Force's first 100 female pilots. Now she's part of the biggest class of female veterans running for Congress.
Courtesy Wendy Rogers Campaign

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:18 pm

As the war against the so-called Islamic State continues in the Middle East, political ads have for weeks been raising the specter of terrorism. And several congressional candidates with military experience say they're the ones who can best keep America safe. Many of them are women. Only five female veterans have ever served in Congress, but 11 are running for seats this year – the most ever.

Just a few are running in competitive races, and Republican Wendy Rogers is one of them. Even if she never told you she spent 20 years in the military, you'd have a feeling.

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Politics
2:07 am
Mon September 29, 2014

In N.H. Race, A Rematch Of A Rematch

Then-incumbent Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., and then-Democratic challenger Carol Shea-Porter debate during a Sept. 2012 forum at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Guinta, who lost to Shea-Porter in 2012, is running for his old seat in 2014.
David Lane AP

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 8:46 pm

Think of it as a rematch of a rematch.

In New Hampshire, Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter is battling Republican Frank Guinta for the third time in a row. Each has beaten the other before – Guinta defeated Shea-Porter during the 2010 Tea Party wave, and Shea-Porter won her seat back in 2012.

You wonder if it starts to get boring when you're hitting the same rival over and over again.

"Well, I know what he's going to say, that's for sure," says Shea-Porter.
Guinta admits the same: "I mean, it is kind of old hat."

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Politics
2:12 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

National Security May Not Resonate At The Polls This Fall

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 3:51 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
2:15 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Congress Quietly Extends The Budget — Past Election Day, Anyway

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 5:57 am

This week on Capitol Hill, a proposal to aid Syrian rebels got all the drama, while the larger government funding bill it was attached to barely got mention. But that spending package is quite similar to the one that led to the government shutdown in October — most notably, it still funds the Affordable Care Act. Yet this year, talk of a government shutdown was virtually nonexistent.

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Politics
3:30 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Senate To Vote On Bill To Authorize Arming Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:50 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
1:34 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Expanding ISIS Fight Scrambles GOP Plan To Extend Budget And Get Out

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves after a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner responded positively to the proposals from President Obama about confronting Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

House Republicans were hoping for September to be a blissfully uneventful month, with election season just around the corner. But President Obama dashed those hopes this week, when he asked Congress for authorization to train and arm Syrian rebels against the group calling itself the Islamic State.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Pryor Sticks To The Middle In Close Arkansas Senate Race

Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor is fighting for his seat in a state that's grown more Republican. He's campaigning hard at events like this University of Arkansas Razorbacks game.
Ailsa Chang NPR

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 5:04 pm

Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor is running one of the closest Senate races in the country. The fight, which could determine which party will control the Senate next year, may be on its way to becoming the most expensive race in the state's history.

Since President Obama won in 2008, Arkansas has grown more Republican, but Pryor is still hoping to win a third term on his reputation as a down-the-middle guy.

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Politics
2:10 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Senate Control May Swing On North Carolina's Unpopularity Contest

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., takes questions from the media in April during an appearance in Durham. Hagan has tried for her first 5 1/2 years in the U.S. Senate to convince North Carolina voters that being in the middle of the road is a good thing.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 10:06 am

North Carolina is one of the half-dozen states that could cost the Democrats their majority in the Senate this November, and both contenders in the race are hoping to capitalize on a backlash.

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Politics
2:08 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

To Cope With Child Immigrants, Competing Plans Emerge From Congress

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with incoming Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., talks with reporters on Wednesday about House Republican plans to deal with the border crisis.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Divergent plans are now emerging from the House and Senate on how best to deal with the influx of unaccompanied children from Central America across the border.

Though both would offer the president less money than he asked for to deal with the crisis, a major battle has developed over whether to amend a 2008 law that makes it harder to speedily deport the children.

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Politics
3:12 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

VA Nominee Steps Before Senate Committee

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:17 pm

Robert McDonald, President Obama's nominee to run the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, is appearing before the Senate for his confirmation hearing. He faces the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which will vote on whether to send his nomination to the Senate floor.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
2:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

House GOP Counters Obama's Request By Promising Own Proposal

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. It's a familiar dance in Washington - President Obama makes a request to Congress and the House says no. This time, the no is in response to the $3.7 billion dollars the president requested to respond to an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Politics
3:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Administration Officials Defend Funding Request To Stem Border Crisis

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 6:01 am

President Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to deal with the southern border crisis. There are predictions the number of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. could reach 90,000 by October.

Politics
1:23 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand?

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks during a committee hearing on veterans' health care. Sanders, an Independent, is a possible 2016 presidential candidate.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:30 am

As members of Congress continue hammering out a bill to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs' beleaguered health care system, attention has focused on one man leading the charge: Bernie Sanders, Independent senator from Vermont and a self-described socialist.

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