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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Around the Nation
3:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Weeks Later, IRS Investigation Hasn't Slowed Down

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:20 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.

An update now on the congressional investigation into the IRS' flagging of conservative groups for extra scrutiny. For the first time since the scandal broke, there are no public hearings scheduled this week. The action is all behind closed doors as NPR's Tamara Keith tells us from Capitol Hill.

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Politics
1:18 am
Tue June 11, 2013

How The Senate Farm Bill Would Change Subsidies

Third-generation Oklahoma farmer Scott Neufeld says crop insurance is important to his family's business.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 1:40 pm

The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years.

The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness. That debate is set to continue as the House plans to take up its version of the bill this month.

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Politics
3:30 am
Tue June 4, 2013

IRS Acting Director Appears Before House Panel

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 6:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Today on Capitol Hill, Congress turns its attention to two federal institutions that have been losing the confidence of the American people. In a minute, we'll hear about an effort in the Senate to crackdown on sexual abuse in the U.S. military.

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Politics
4:25 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Select Senators Stall Budget Process

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. The nomination we just heard about involves reaching across the aisle. That's not something we hear much about. When it comes to the federal budget, if it feels like we haven't heard about the budget in a while, there's a reason for that. The process is stalled. Back in March, the House and Senate passed vastly different spending plans. In theory, the next step would be a conference committee to hash out the differences, but a handful of senators are blocking that from happening.

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Politics
3:20 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

IRS Witness Turns Down Questions At Congressional Hearing

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:40 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Another day, another heated hearing on Capitol Hill about the IRS. The agency's leadership has faced angry questions over its flagging of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status. At today's hearing, the most anticipated witness answered no questions. Instead, she took the Fifth, as we hear from NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith.

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It's All Politics
12:58 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Conservative Advice To GOP: Don't Legislate, Focus On Scandals

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 2:25 pm

Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.

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Politics
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

House Republicans Take Another Stab At Repealing Obamacare

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

The House held a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act — again. This time it was to make freshman Republicans happy by giving them a vote to take home.

It's All Politics
12:51 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Cantor's Rebranding Effort Tested By House Republicans

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has been pitching a GOP rebranding effort he calls Making Life Work. The agenda is aimed at creating "conditions of health, happiness and prosperity" for American families, he says.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

When the House votes Wednesday on a bill called the Working Families Flexibility Act, it will be the latest test of a Republican effort at rebranding.

The architect of that effort in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has so far had a mixed record.

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It's All Politics
3:12 am
Sun April 28, 2013

House Leadership Crashes Into Outside Hurdles On Bills

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on April 18.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 4:40 pm

The House was set to vote this week on a bill modifying the president's health care law. The Republican bill was supported by the leadership, but ran into trouble and was pulled from the floor before the scheduled vote.

It's an example of the kind of obstacles Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, faces in getting legislation through the House. In many recent cases, his problem hasn't been the Democrats as much as members of his own party, backed by proudly conservative outside groups.

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Around the Nation
2:47 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Flight Delays Prompt End To Air Traffic Controller Furloughs

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We also have some sequester news today. The House approved a bill, and the president says he'll sign it, to end the furlough of air traffic controllers. Short-staffed control towers translated into thousands of flight delays this week, all because of those automatic across-the-board spending cuts. NPR's Tamara Keith has that story.

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National Security
3:16 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Should Air Traffic Controllers Be Included In Furloughs?

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Air travelers are growing less and less happy. Automatic budget cuts are now leading to hundreds of flight delays, about half of all delayed flights this week.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Up until this point, the effects of the sequester have been scattered and hard to pin down: hiring freezes, delayed park openings. But then the furloughs of air traffic controllers the Federal Aviation Administration had been threatening for months hit and, bam, the sequester got real, real fast.

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

How Congress Quietly Overhauled Its Insider-Trading Law

Vice President Biden and members of Congress watch as President Obama signs the STOCK Act on April 4, 2012. A year later, Congress moved to undo large portions of the law without fanfare.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

The legislative process on Capitol Hill is often slow and grinding. There are committee hearings, filibuster threats and hours of floor debate. But sometimes, when Congress really wants to get something done, it can move blindingly fast.

That's what happened when Congress moved to undo large parts of a popular law known as the STOCK Act last week.

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Politics
4:06 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

The Next Debt Ceiling Deadline

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 8:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now, to Capitol Hill where lawmakers are debating several big ideas these days. There's the gun control bill in the Senate and a possible compromise on immigration reform. But that's not all. In just a few months, another fiscal fight could steal the spotlight.

NPR's Tamara Keith has this look forward to a potential battle over the debt ceiling again.

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It's All Politics
1:35 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

On Message: Who Wants To Cut Social Security?

A sign outside the White House on Tuesday protests part of President Obama's proposed federal budget.
Kevin G. Hall MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 2:09 pm

The president's $3.77 trillion fiscal 2014 budget plan is expansive. But the part getting the most attention is his proposal to change the way the government calculates inflation using a measure known in economics-speak as chained CPI.

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Politics
3:14 am
Thu April 11, 2013

'Chained CPI' Worked Into Obama's 2014 Budget

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:59 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep reporting this week from Caracas, Venezuela.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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It's All Politics
1:04 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Searching For The Sequester In The Middle Of Ohio

In Columbus, Ohio, signs of the sequester were hard to find.
Kiichiro Sato AP

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 7:59 pm

It's been a little more than a month since the start of the sequester — the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that kicked in because Congress couldn't agree on something better.

Before it hit, there were dire and at times very specific predictions of job losses, furloughs and program cuts — many of them from the Obama administration.

Of course, it's still early. Everything you hear today about the effects of the sequester could and probably will change over the coming weeks and months.

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It's All Politics
1:42 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Opposition Research Boot Camp: Learning To Dig For Political Dirt

Opposition research is becoming a given in politics, sometimes even at the local level.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 6:29 pm

Opposition research exists mostly in the political shadows. So perhaps it's fitting that this boot camp is in an generic conference room in a generic airport hotel outside of Washington, D.C.

It's run by private investigator Larry Zilliox, who specializes in opposition research. He allowed me to attend a session, but not to take pictures.

Zilliox is cagey about his clients: "As a general rule, it suits me best not to comment on who I've worked for. Everybody is better off that way."

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

NRA-Driven Gun Provisions Pass Along With Spending Bill

Customers shop for guns at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store in Tinley Park, Ill., in January. One of the gun provisions in the spending bill prevents the Justice Department from requiring gun dealers to conduct an inventory to see if guns are lost or stolen.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a temporary measure to keep the government funded through the end of September. Government shutdown averted.

But it turns out the continuing resolution didn't just address spending. It contains six measures that limit how federal agencies deal with guns.

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Politics
3:10 am
Thu March 21, 2013

House, Senate Budget Plans Offer Different Future

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a copy of his budget plan during a news conference last week. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled House narrowly passed the measure. The Senate is not expected to follow suit.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 11:36 am

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's House GOP budget balances in a decade and re-shapes Medicare. That is, it would if the measure passed by the House on Thursday ever became law — which it won't.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray's Democratic budget raises almost $1 trillion in taxes by closing loopholes and adds $100 billion in new spending on infrastructure. But it won't become a reality, either.

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It's All Politics
2:38 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

How The Federal Budget Is Just Like Your Family Budget (Or Not)

Is your family budget really like the federal budget?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 5:51 pm

The House has begun debate on its budget resolution, with a vote expected later this week. And as supporters talk about this budget, there's one comparison you hear a lot.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio: "Every family in America has to balance their budget. Washington should, too."

Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J.: "You know, every family in America understands the necessity of a balanced budget."

Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.: "This is how every family tries to live in good times and in bad. Your government should do the same."

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Politics
3:26 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Obama Continues 'Charm Offensive' On Capitol Hill

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 7:34 am

President Obama has been meeting this week with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to talk about long-term budget planning. On Wednesday, Obama met with House Republicans who offered mixed views on how the dialogue went.

It's All Politics
2:24 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

On Message: The Battle To Define 'Balanced' Budget

A member of the House Budget Committee holds a copy of the Republican budget proposal on Tuesday in Washington.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:12 pm

In the ongoing Washington budget battles, one word gets more of a workout than most: balanced.

This single word illustrates the vast distance between the parties. Democrats and Republicans are working from very different definitions of the term in discussing their budget proposals being unveiled this week.

What Democrats are saying: A balanced budget is deficit reduction through a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. As in: We want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.

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Politics
2:55 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Ryan Budget Almost An Exact Repeat Of Last Year's Proposal

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ailsa mentioned the House budget, and today, it was presented by a cohort of House Republicans led by Budget Committee Chairman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. The budget gives an indication of just how hard reaching a grand bargain will be. There's not a lot of overlap with the president's priorities, and it's almost an exact repeat of Ryan's budget from last year, right down to the title, "The Path to Prosperity." NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith tells us more.

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Politics
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Senate Finally Confirms John Brennan As CIA Director

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

John Brennan is the new director of Central Intelligence Agency. He was sworn in this morning. The Senate confirmed him yesterday with a 63 to 34 vote, but as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, it did not come easy.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: John O. Brennan comes to the job as the nation's top spy with 25 years of experience at the CIA. Most recently he served as the president's top counter-terrorism advisor. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, leads the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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Politics
2:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Houses Passes Resolution To Keep Government Funded Through September

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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It's All Politics
1:45 am
Wed March 6, 2013

The Boehner Rule? Speaker Bucks House GOP For Some Legislation

House Speaker John Boehner answers reporters' questions after the weekly House Republican caucus meeting with (from left) Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Rep. Steve Daines on Tuesday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

House Speaker John Boehner held a news conference the day after the November election.

"The American people have spoken," he said. "They've re-elected President Obama. And they've again re-elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives."

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It's All Politics
4:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

GOP On The Sequester: Many Messages But Mostly The Same Point

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media after a meeting with President Obama on Friday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 9:04 am

In the days leading up to the sequester taking effect Friday, Democrats on Capitol Hill had a very unified message.

"We're seeking to provide the American people with a balanced approach. Again, that's what the American people want," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at a press conference.

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Politics
3:01 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Despite Sequester, Government Shutdown Remains Unlikely

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:01 pm

The long-feared automatic spending cuts are set to start late Friday, and now Congress must deal with another deadline at the end of this month. Tamara Keith talks to Melissa Block about what happens next.

Politics
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Sequester Countdown Clock Keeps Ticking

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

The sequester countdown calendar now has the number one on it. Tomorrow is the big day. Over time, the automatic across the board spending cuts could slow economic growth and lead to the furlough of hundreds of thousands of government employees. And we're going hear more about that in a moment.

NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith begins our coverage with the efforts to stop that from happening.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Spoiler alert.

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It's All Politics
1:13 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

On Message: What Boehner's Saying (And What He's Not) About Sequester

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, discusses the sequester Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:33 pm

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