Sam Gringlas

Sam Gringlas is a journalist at NPR's All Things Considered. In 2020, he helped cover the presidential election with NPR's Washington Desk and has also reported for NPR's business desk covering the workforce. He's produced and reported with NPR from across the country, as well as China and Mexico, covering topics like politics, trade, the environment, immigration and breaking news. He started as an intern at All Things Considered after graduating with a public policy degree from the University of Michigan, where he was the managing news editor at The Michigan Daily. He's a native Michigander.

Updated June 11, 2021 at 7:49 PM ET

Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's exploration of the American dream started in his own hometown of Manhattan — which holds the first chapter in many American stories, he says. Specifically, Miranda's first Tony-winning musical takes place in the immigrant neighborhood of Washington Heights.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the U.S. would withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively bringing an end to a "forever war" spurred by the terrorist attacks 20 years earlier on Sept. 11, 2001. His promise has been met with backlash from both Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress.

The job market is starting to roar back, but for anxious college seniors like Bao Ha, it's a different reality altogether.

"I've probably applied to like 130 or 40 jobs or something," Ha says. "I have not gotten even an email back, or an interview."

Ha is graduating soon from Macalaster College in Minnesota, and between his anthropology thesis and trying to check items off his senior year bucket list, he has spent hours crafting cover letters and scouring job postings.

And now, self-doubt has started to trickle in.

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Jillian Melton and Paul Sklar work at two restaurants hundreds of miles apart. And when it comes to the $15 minimum wage debate, their differences in views could almost be as vast.

The push by Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage would also eliminate a decades-long practice of paying restaurant servers as little as $2.13 an hour under the expectation they would earn far more through tips.

Janitor Gloria Espinoza still vividly remembers the moment she was laid off last year.

A supervisor gathered her and her colleagues at a parking lot of the office where she worked in San Francisco and then broke the news.

"I thought, 'God, why us?'," Espinoza said. "It was like receiving a bucket of cold water."

Months later, Espinoza is still unemployed and part of a worrying economic statistic: While the labor market is showing signs of recovery, millions who lost jobs at the beginning of the pandemic a year ago are still out of the labor force.

President Biden's push for a $15 federal minimum wage appears to be on hold for now.

As part of a marathon session of voting on amendments to Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the Senate late Thursday approved by voice vote a measure prohibiting an increase of the federal minimum wage during the global pandemic.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Shortly after The Associated Press and multiple networks called the presidential election for former Vice President Joe Biden, President Trump released a statement claiming the election was "far from over," falsely accusing President-elect Biden of attempting to undermine the electoral process and vowing to take the election to the courts.

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