Ailsa Chang

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers Congress for NPR. She landed in public radio after spending six years as a lawyer.

Since joining NPR in 2012, Chang has covered battles over immigration, the healthcare law, gun control and White House appointments. She crisscrossed the country in the months before the Republican takeover of the Senate, bringing stories about Washington from the Deep South, Southwest and New England.

Chang started out as a radio reporter in 2009, and has since earned a string of national awards for her work. In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her investigation on the New York City Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policy and allegations of unlawful marijuana arrests by officers. The series 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.

The former lawyer served as a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

Chang graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she received her bachelor's degree.

She earned her law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she won the Irving Hellman, Jr. Special Award for the best piece written by a student in the Stanford Law Review in 2001.

Chang was also a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, where she received a master's degree in media law. And she has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Prior to coming to NPR, Chang was an investigative reporter at NPR member station WNYC from 2009 to 2012 in New York City, focusing on criminal justice and legal affairs. She was a Kroc fellow at NPR from 2008 to 2009, as well as 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
4:43 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Obama Administration Officials Defend Iran Nuclear Deal Before Senate

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 6:02 pm

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Law
4:19 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Father Of Slain San Francisco Woman Testifies Before Congress

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 5:20 am

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Politics
4:32 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

Congress To Begin 60-Day Review Period Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Tue July 14, 2015 6:19 pm

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It's All Politics
3:03 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

A Conservative Firebrand From The Start, Ted Cruz Always Had A Plan

Cruz in his high school yearbook; he was president of the drama club.
Second Baptist High School

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 9:23 am

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.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Tue June 23, 2015

Senate Votes To Push Forward White House Trade Plans

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 7:56 pm

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It's All Politics
11:25 am
Tue June 23, 2015

Republicans Don't Have A Plan Yet To Replace Obamacare Subsidies

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on March 4. The Supreme Court is considering the case of King v. Burwell, which could determine the fate of health care subsidies for millions of people.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 5:03 pm

As the Supreme Court edges closer to issuing an opinion that could deal a blow to the federal health exchange operating in more than 30 states, Democrats have sounded a warning to their colleagues on the other side: Be careful what you wish for.

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Politics
4:26 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Senate Allows 3 Provisions Within The Patriot Act To Expire

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 9:57 am

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Politics
3:23 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Presidential Hopeful Bernie Sanders To Face Test In New Hampshire

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 5:20 pm

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Politics
5:13 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Senate Advances Bill To Give Obama 'Fast-Track' Trade Authority

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:07 pm

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Politics
5:16 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul Ends 'Filibuster' Over NSA Surveillance Program

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:08 pm

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On the Senate floor yesterday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul started talking. He spoke for 10 hours about his opposition to NSA surveillance of Americans' phone records.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Politics
4:08 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Lawmakers Divided Over McConnell's Desire To Extend Surveillance Plan

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 6:42 pm

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Congress is deciding the conditions under which the National Security Agency can monitor your phone records.

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It's All Politics
7:16 am
Thu May 14, 2015

A Trade Deal Read In Secret By Only A Few (Or Maybe None)

To study the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership language, senators have to go to the basement of the Capitol and enter a secured, soundproof room and surrender their mobile devices.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 1:16 pm

This post was updated at 1 p.m. ET

Senate leaders were all smiles Wednesday after they broke a 24-hour impasse and announced they had reached a deal on how to move forward on a fast-track trade negotiating bill. That legislation would give the president expedited authority to enter into a trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries, otherwise known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

But how senators will vote on this bill depends largely on how they feel about TPP. And there's one problem.

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Politics
5:14 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Vote On Obama's Fast-Track Trade Bill Blocked By Senate Democrats

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:43 pm

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Politics
3:34 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Senators Deny Obama Authority To Expedite Pacific Trade Deal

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 6:22 pm

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It's All Politics
4:04 am
Fri May 8, 2015

What Eye Contact — And Dogs — Can Teach Us About Civility In Politics

State Sens. Warren Limmer (left) and Bill Ingebrigtsen talk in the Senate chamber. Limmer said he has been scolded for looking at his colleagues during debate before, and had "to beg forgiveness to the Senate president."
David J. Oakes Minnesota State Senate

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 10:09 am

Republican Warren Limmer sits in the second row of the Minnesota state Senate. He says more than 80 percent of his colleagues sit behind him. But he doesn't dare turn around to look at them when he gets up to speak.

He might get scolded. It has happened before.

"Then my cadence is thrown off," Limmer said. "I have to beg forgiveness to the Senate president. And then I'll get a slight admonishment, and then I can proceed."

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