Tamara Keith

Tamara Keith is a NPR White House Correspondent. She is especially focused on matters related to the economy and the Federal budget.

Prior to moving into her current role in January 2014, she was a Congressional Correspondent covering Congress with an emphasis on the budget, taxes and the ongoing fiscal fights. During the Republican presidential primaries she covered Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, and traveled with Mitt Romney leading into the primaries in Colorado and Ohio, among other states. She began covering congress in August 2011.

Keith joined NPR in 2009 as a Business Reporter. In that role, she reported on topics spanning the business world from covering the debt downgrade and debt ceiling crisis to the latest in policy debates, legal issues and technology trends. In early 2010, she was on the ground in Haiti covering the aftermath of the country's disastrous earthquake and later she covered the oil spill in the Gulf. In 2011, Keith conceived and reported the 2011 NPR series The Road Back To Work, a year-long series featuring the audio diaries of six people in St. Louis who began the year unemployed and searching for work.

Keith has deep roots in public radio and got her start in news by writing and voicing essays for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday as a teenager. While in college, she launched her career at NPR Member Station KQED's California Report, covering topics including agriculture and the environment. In 2004, Keith began working at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, where she reported on politics and the 2004 presidential campaign.

Keith went back to California to open the state capital bureau for NPR Member Station KPCC/Southern California Public Radio. In 2006, Keith returned to KQED, serving as the Sacramento-region reporter for two years.

In 2001, Keith began working on B-Side Radio, an hour-long public radio show and podcast that she co-founded, produced, hosted, edited, and distributed for nine years.

Over the course of her career Keith has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including an award for best news writing from the APTRA California/Nevada and a first place trophy from the Society of Environmental Journalists for "Outstanding Story Radio." Keith was a 2010-2011 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow.

Keith earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree at the UCB Graduate School of Journalism. Tamara is also a member of the Bad News Babes, a media softball team that once a year competes against female members of Congress in the Congressional Women's Softball game.

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The Edge
3:17 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

After Decade-Long Fight, Ski Jumper Lindsey Van Is 'Ready To Fly'

Lindsey Van at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships last year, in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 4:34 pm

For more than a decade, ski jumper Lindsey Van dreamed of making the U.S. Olympic team, but one thing held her back: Female ski jumpers weren't allowed to compete. Until this year.

This month, the 29-year-old from Park City, Utah, will be one of the athletes competing at the Olympics on the U.S. women's ski jumping team. For Van, that competition marks the end of a very long road.

"Honestly, I don't really have words for it," she said at a press conference announcing the team. "I'm just completely overwhelmed and happy to be representing my sport."

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Politics
3:30 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

The State Of The Union Goes On Tour

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:00 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. President Obama is on the road today. He's busy making the case for some of the ideas he rolled out last night in his State of the Union address. First stop, a warehouse store in Maryland. There, the president made a multipronged pitch around raising the minimum wage. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith begins our coverage.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Expect to hear this a lot in the coming weeks and months.

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Politics
2:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Obama Prepared To Bypass Congress If Needed

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:20 am

When President Obama gives his State of the Union Address, he's likely to hit on familiar themes: expanding opportunity for all Americans, pushing for immigration overhaul and investment in infrastructure. And he's expected to say that if Congress doesn't act, he'll move forward with his own initiatives through executive action. This comes as Congress gave him very little of what he asked for last year.

Sports
1:40 am
Thu January 23, 2014

7 Facts And 3 GIFs: Hellooo Curling

Potomac Curling Club members (from left) Miriam Terninko, Christopher Richard, Joe Rockenbach and Henrique Kempenich await the arrival of stones to the house during a match Jan. 18 at National Capital Curling Center in Laurel, Md.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 11:39 am

Most of the sports in the Winter Olympics involve great physical strength or agility. The goals are easy to understand: to go faster, to jump farther or more spectacularly. But one Olympic sport — curling — is as much about strategy and physics as physicality.

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Law
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Obama Launches Task Force To Combat Sexual Assault

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

One in five women: that's the number of women who have been sexually assaulted in college, according to a new White House report. As NPR's Tamara Keith tells us, today, President Obama formally set up a task force that's charged with protecting students.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: President Obama made it clear that preventing sexual assault is personal for him.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is a priority for me not only as president and commander in chief but as a husband and a father of two extraordinary girls.

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Politics
1:36 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Wielding A Pen And A Phone, Obama Goes It Alone

President Obama has alluded to his pen and his phone as two tools that help him act without waiting for congressional approval.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:04 am

President Obama has a new phrase he's been using a lot lately: "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone."

He's talking about the tools a president can use if Congress isn't giving him what he wants: executive actions and calling people together. It's another avenue the president is using to pursue his economic agenda.

'If Congress Is Deadlocked'

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National Security
11:39 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Outlines 'New Approach' For Phone-Data Program

Coverage of President Obama's speech Friday wraps up with analysis of his proposed steps to "transition" rather than end the NSA program.

Politics
3:20 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Obama Meets Lawmakers To Discuss Ongoing NSA Review

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:36 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. Today, President Obama hosted a select group of lawmakers at the White House. The topic of the talks, the National Security Agency's controversial spying programs and how to change them to deal with privacy fears. In a moment, we'll hear from Colorado Senator Mark Udall who was in the meeting, but first, NPR's White House correspondent Tamara Keith has this update on the president's review of NSA practices.

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It's All Politics
3:43 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Senate Unexpectedly Moves Forward On Unemployment Benefits

Katherine Hackett of Connecticut introduces President Barack Obama during a White House event on unemployment insurance Jan. 7. Hackett spoke about her financial struggles during unemployment before Obama put pressure on the House to extend benefits.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:05 pm

The Senate surprised quite a few people in Washington today when it voted to proceed on a bill to temporarily extend emergency unemployment benefits. Six Republicans joined Democrats in voting to get the measure over a key procedural hurdle.

But it was only the first step, and the president is applying pressure to keep it moving.

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Sports
2:27 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

At Long Last, Female Ski Jumpers Can Go For Olympic Gold

First-place finisher Jessica Jerome competes in the women's ski jumping event at the U.S. Olympic trials in Park City, Utah, on Sunday.
Jim Urquhart AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:50 pm

In Park City, Utah, on Sunday, ski jumper Jessica Jerome, 27, became the first woman to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

But to get to this point has been a fight.

Ski jumping has been an Olympic sport since the advent of the Winter Olympics — that is, men's ski jumping. But for the women — who often soar just as far if not farther than the men — it has been a fight that took them to a Canadian courtroom and was marked with years of setbacks. They were told again and again that women's ski jumping wasn't at a high enough caliber to be in the games.

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Politics
1:17 am
Wed December 25, 2013

How House Speaker Boehner Survived A Roller-Coaster Year

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, after talking to reporters on Capitol Hill this month. House Republicans openly revolted against the speaker several times in 2013.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

House Speaker John Boehner ends 2013 after quite a roller-coaster ride. The Ohio Republican's year was defined by a rocky relationship with the Tea Party wing of the GOP.

The year started for Boehner with an attempt to strip him of his speakership — and ended with some of the same people who had tried to oust him singing his praises.

In January, a vote that should have been routine turned suspenseful as a number of Tea Party-allied Republicans voted against Boehner or didn't vote at all.

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Politics
2:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

How The Government Spent $2 Billion Paying Workers To Not Work

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 3:42 pm

Two billion — that's the number of dollars the federal government lost during the partial government shutdown, paying furloughed employees not to work.

World
3:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Obama, Biden Won't Go To 2014 Olympics, But Gay Athletes Will

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Politics
3:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Senators Laugh And Joke During Secret Santa Exchange

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:02 am

In the Senate, partisan bickering was put on hold for a brief time as senators held a holiday gift exchange Tuesday night. The idea for the Senate Secret Santa gift exchange, which is in its third year, came from Minnesota Democrat Al Franken.

Politics
3:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Boehner Pushes Back Against Conservative Groups' Budget Opposition

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:44 pm

The House voted late Thursday to pass the House-Senate budget compromise. Speaker John Boehner urged passage of the "fine work" by budget chairman Paul Ryan, and was critical of conservative groups, who he said opposed the deal "before they've even seen it." The uncharacteristic criticism prompted reporters to ask if this is a turning point.

Politics
2:46 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

On Both Sides Of The Aisle, Little To Like In Budget Deal

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After weeks of negotiations, there is a bipartisan plan to finance the government. The House is expected to vote on it tomorrow. The bill sets budget levels for two years. It also rolls back some of the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester, and it would reduce the deficit by $23 billion over a decade. NPR's Tamara Keith is gauging enthusiasm for the deal.

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Politics
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Budget Proposal Is No 'Grand Bargain'

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

For years, there's been talk in Washington, D.C., about the "grand bargain" — a big deficit-reducing budget deal that rewrites the tax code and trims from the long-term costs of Medicare and Social Security. Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan announced what can only be described as a small bargain. But if it's approved by the House and Senate, it would avoid another government shutdown in January.

Politics
4:55 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

House, Senate Negotiators Announce Deal To Avert Another Shutdown

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

House and Senate negotiators said late Thursday that they reached a budget deal. The agreement would restore some of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, and includes some relatively small deficit reduction over the next two years. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hammered out the deal, which they characterized as a step in the right direction that would avoid another government shutdown in mid-January if both the House and Senate approve the budget.

The Salt
4:14 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Congressional Work On Farm Bill Likely To Spill Into 2014

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., during a Dec. 4 break in negotiations on the farm bill. On Tuesday, Stabenow said the bill likely won't pass Congress until January.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:14 pm

House and Senate negotiators working to finish a farm bill say it is unlikely their work will be completed before the end of the year. The House is only in session for the rest of the week, and according to one of the negotiators, this week's snowy weather has delayed some numbers-crunching needed to figure out how much elements of a possible deal will cost.

"We're going to pass it in January," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., as she left a closed-door meeting to negotiate details of the five-year farm bill.

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Sports
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

To Get Olympic Snow, Machines Give Nature A Nudge

A skier glides past a snow-making machine pumping out snow in Weston, Mass., in 2010.
Bill Sikes AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

In Russia, organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics have called on dozens of shamans to pray for snow. But the centerpiece of the Olympic snow strategy is man-made: a massive system that features more than 550 snow-making machines.

Sochi, Russia, which is hosting the Olympics, is a resort town on the relatively warm Black Sea. There are beaches and palm trees. The Alpine events will be held on a mountain just 30 minutes away, where last February it was raining, not snowing.

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Politics
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Congress Tries To Craft Budget Deal Before Holiday Break

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Politics
5:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Add This To The Fiscal Cliff: Congress Faces A 'Milk Cliff' Too

Congress still has a long to-do list and not much time left. The House hopes to wrap it up next week — just as the Senate returns from a Thanksgiving break. On many lawmakers' lists are efforts to complete a farm bill before milk prices go off the "dairy cliff." That on top of tough budget negotiations.

The Salt
1:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:29 am

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

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Politics
2:44 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Unemployment Benefit Program Set To Expire At Year's End

Job seekers attend a March health care job fair in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:12 pm

More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.

An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.

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Politics
3:15 am
Wed November 27, 2013

IRS Suggests Guidelines On Politicking By Tax-Exempt Groups

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 4:42 am

The Obama administration is pushing a new set of regulations that would make it much harder for so-called "social welfare" organizations to engage in political campaigns. This comes after a summer of controversy over the way the IRS treated Tea Party groups applying for tax exempt status.

Politics
3:29 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

New IRS Rules Would Lessen Influence Of Social Welfare Groups

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:56 pm

The Obama administration is pushing new regulations that will make it harder for so-called "social welfare" tax-exempt groups to influence elections.

Politics
3:39 am
Thu November 21, 2013

'Alpha House' Latest Show To Be Based In Nation's Capital

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

The fourth episode of the web-only series Alpha House goes live on Amazon Prime on Friday. The political comedy stars John Goodman and was created and written by Garry Trudeau of "Doonesbury" fame. It's about four Republican senators living in a house and is loosely based on a real Capitol Hill living arrangement.

It's All Politics
11:27 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Senate Finance Chairman Floats International Tax Code Overhaul

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., arrives for a hearing with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Capitol Hill last month.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:20 pm

The U.S. tax code is messy, complicated and full of loopholes. And if you're searching for the most incomprehensible, technically dense part of that code, international tax law would be a good place to start.

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Business
3:12 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Budget Office Examines Cost Of Partial Government Shutdown

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:17 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Twitter may be worth billions of dollars. Let's talk about another number $2 billion. That is how much federal employees were paid not to work during the government shutdown. This is just one of many eye-popping numbers in a new report on the shutdown from the White House Budget Office.

Here's NPR's Tamara Keith.

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Politics
4:19 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Head Of Medicare, Medicaid Back On Capitol Hill For Health Law Hearing

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block in Washington where it was another day of tough questions and testimony on Capitol Hill about the Affordable Care Act. Marilyn Tavenner, who has overseen the bumpy rollout of the program, testified before the Senate Health Committee. She said the Healthcare.gov website is getting better every day.

NPR's Tamara Keith is at the Capitol.

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