David Welna

David Welna has been NPR's congressional correspondent since the final days of the Clinton administration. Primarily following the Senate, Welna reports on many issues he covered earlier in his career reporting both inside and outside of the United States, in addition to covering the September 11, 2001 attacks, the wars that followed, and the economic downturn and recession. Prior to this position Welna covered the 2000 presidential election and the post-election vote count battle in Florida.

In mid-1998, after 15 years of reporting from abroad for NPR, David Welna joined NPR's Chicago bureau. During that posting, he reported on a wide range of issues: changes in Midwestern agriculture that are putting pressures on small farmers, how foreign conflicts and economic crises affect people in the heartland, and efforts to improve public education. His background in Latin America informed his coverage of the saga of Elian Gonzalez both in Miami and Cuba.

Welna first filed stories for NPR as a freelancer in 1982, based in Buenos Aires. From there, and subsequently from Rio de Janeiro, he covered events throughout South America. In 1995 Welna became the chief of NPR's Mexico bureau.

Additionally, he has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London. Welna's photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Covering a wide range of stories in Latin America, Welna chronicled the wrenching 1985 trial of Argentina's former military leaders who presided over the disappearance of tens of thousands of suspected dissidents. In Brazil, he visited a town in Sao Paulo state called Americana where former slaveholders from America relocated after the Civil War. Welna covered the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the mass exodus of Cubans who fled the island on rafts in 1994, the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and the US intervention in Haiti to restore Jean Bertrand Aristide to Haiti's presidency.

In 1995, Welna was awarded an Overseas Press Club award for his coverage of Haiti. During that same year he was chosen by the Latin American Studies Association to receive their annual award for distinguished coverage of Latin America. Welna was awarded a 1997 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2002, Welna was elected by his colleagues to a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries.

A native of Minnesota, Welna graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, with a Bachelor of Arts and distinction in Latin American Studies. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Portuguese.




Tue June 14, 2011

Ethanol Subsidies Survive Senate Vote, Splinter GOP

On Tuesday, the Senate blocked a measure that would have ended both federal subsidies and protective tariffs for corn-based ethanol fuel.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Costly subsidies for homegrown fuel won a vote of confidence Tuesday on Capitol Hill. In a key test vote, the Senate blocked a measure that would have immediately ended both federal subsidies and protective tariffs for corn-based ethanol fuel.

The outcome showed the continued clout of farm states. But it also showed that most Senate Republicans are willing to get rid of at least one tax break.

A 'Very Controversial Subject'

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Mon June 13, 2011

As Economy Sputters, Obama's Nominees Languish

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Peter Diamond prepared to address the media last October after winning the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Last week, more than a year after being nominated for a seat on the Fed, and facing Republican opposition, Diamond withdrew his nomination.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

President Obama's push to get the economy back on track has hit significant roadblocks in the institution where he once served: the U.S. Senate. True, it's still controlled by Democrats. But Republicans, by simply threatening a filibuster, can block presidential nominees for key economic posts — and that's exactly what they've done.

Three months ago, for example, the president announced he was nominating Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. Days later, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell convened a news conference at the Capitol.

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Thu June 9, 2011
NPR Story

Panetta's Confirmation Hearing Gets Choppy

Originally published on Thu June 9, 2011 8:11 pm



From NPR News, this is All Things Considered, I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Melissa Block.

We go first this hour to Capitol Hill, where CIA Director Leon Panetta appeared at a confirmation hearing for his next likely post, Secretary of Defense. Panetta is expected to sail smoothly through the confirmation process to succeed Robert Gates.

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Thu June 9, 2011

Senate Agrees To Cut In Debit Card Fees

How much you pay when you swipe your debit card will now be capped by the Federal Reserve. That's despite an effort in the Senate to delay new regulations over how much banks can charge for debit card transactions. Both banks — which collect those so-called swipe fees — and retailers — who pay them — mounted an intense lobbying effort.


Fri June 3, 2011

House Approves Resolution Chiding Obama On Libya

The House voted Friday on two resolutions addressing concern that President Obama has not sought congressional approval for military operations in Libya. One sponsored by Speaker John Boehner says the president has not given Congress a compelling rationale for the operations. It was adopted. The other was not adopted: It was offered by Democrat Dennis Kucinich and would give the president 15 days to remove forces from Libya.