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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Politics
6:35 am
Wed March 12, 2014

White House Meeting To Examine Women's Pay

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:32 am

President Obama is expected to meet on Wednesday with female members of Congress. There are reasons for the president's focus on women that involve both policy and politics.

Health Care
4:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Pitches Health Care Law To Latinos In Bid To Boost Enrollment

President Obama talks with television hosts Jose Diaz-Balart, center, and Enrique Acevedo, left, about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Latinos.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:50 pm

Getting Latinos to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is seen as critical to the law's success. The Latino population is disproportionately uninsured and relatively young, but enrollment hasn't been going well. This, in part, explains President Obama's appearance Thursday at a town-hall-style event hosted by the nation's two largest Spanish-language television networks, Univision and Telemundo. The tough questions he got only scratch the surface.

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Politics
5:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

New England Governors Back Obama's Minimum Wage Hike Plan

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 8:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Obama is hoping lawmakers will raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Many Republicans call that a potential job killer, and they're blocking the president's efforts in Congress. So as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, the president took his pitch to a place with a more receptive audience.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It is good to be back in Connecticut.

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Politics
5:02 am
Tue March 4, 2014

At The White House, It's Budget Day

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:04 am

President Obama unveils his nearly $4 trillion budget at an elementary school. But before the bound copy of the budget is even delivered to Congress, the fate of this spending plan is already sealed.

Sports
5:17 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Anticipation Grows That U.S. Ice Dancing Duo Will Win Gold

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:57 am

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are favored to win gold in ice dancing. The pair took silver in the last Olympic Games in Vancouver, and expectations are high that they'll do even better in Sochi.

The Edge
6:06 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Sochi's Stray Dogs Melt Hearts, And Put Officials On Defensive

Olympic volunteers pet a stray dog in downtown Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday. The city's long-standing contract with a pest control company has animal right groups concerned about the fate of the many strays roaming the area.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:28 pm

It's after dark in Sochi, and a pack of stray dogs is hogging the sidewalk like they own the place. There are a dachshund mix, several random mutts and one dog that looks like it may be part chow. They're cute and look like pets; seemingly well-fed and with decent pedigrees.

That is, until a fight breaks out. It's loud but ultimately more dog park than street fight, and the dogs quickly get back to prancing around and eating abandoned leftovers.

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Politics
5:30 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Obama Prepared To Bypass Congress If Needed

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 8:20 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
3:40 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 1:39 pm

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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Politics
3:36 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 8:04 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
1:37 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Outlines 'New Approach' For Phone-Data Program

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:39 pm

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

It's All Politics
5:43 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 9:05 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
4:27 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 6:50 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
4:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

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

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:42 pm

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

Politics
5:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Senators Laugh And Joke During Secret Santa Exchange

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:02 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
6:55 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

House, Senate Negotiators Announce Deal To Avert Another Shutdown

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:30 pm

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
6:14 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 7:14 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
4:29 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 12:30 pm

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
4:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Congress Tries To Craft Budget Deal Before Holiday Break

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 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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The Salt
3:05 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 1:29 pm

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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Business
4:47 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Budget Office Examines Cost Of Partial Government Shutdown

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:17 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
8:07 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Pondering A Presidential Run? Cruz Dines In Iowa

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks on Friday during the Republican Party of Iowa's Reagan Dinner in Des Moines.
Scott Morgan AP

Originally published on Sat October 26, 2013 11:19 am

Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican and Tea-Party darling, was in Iowa Friday headlining a fundraising dinner for the state Republican Party. It was Cruz's third visit to Iowa in as many months, but this time was different.

It was his first time back since the government shutdown and his 21-hour, anti-Obamacare talkathon that preceded it — events that catapulted him from junior senator to a conservative hero and household name.

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Business
2:56 am
Thu October 10, 2013

When It Comes To Jobs, Not All Small Businesses Make It Big

Sweetgreen co-founders Nathaniel Ru (from left), Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet at the opening of a Virginia location last year.
Courtesy of Sweetgreen

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:38 pm

Part of a series about small businesses in America

When it comes to job creation, politicians talk about small businesses as the engines of the U.S. economy. It's been a familiar refrain among politicians from both major parties for years.

But it obscures the economic reality. It makes a nice slogan, but it's not really accurate to say that small businesses produce most of the nation's new jobs, says John Haltiwanger, an economics professor at the University of Maryland.

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It's All Politics
6:03 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

GOP Shutdown Strategy Gives House A Twilight Zone Feel

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., holds a news conference Oct. 3 with the GOP Doctors Caucus — members of the House who are medical professionals by training — to talk about how the government shutdown is affecting medical research.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 6:51 pm

With little progress being made to resolve the government shutdown, House Republicans have decided on a piecemeal strategy.

They have been voting to reopen small pieces of the government — for example, on Wednesday, they approved bills paying for the Federal Aviation Administration and for death benefits to the families of service members.

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Politics
4:55 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Politics Within The GOP Keeps Shutdown In Motion

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:30 am

As the partial government shutdown nears the start of its second week, Democrats say the only way out is for House Republicans to pass a clean spending bill to re-open the government with no changes to the Affordable Care Act. Some Republicans agree. So why don't moderate House Republicans rise up, and do something to end the shutdown?

Politics
5:17 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Why A Handful Of Hard-Liners Has A Hold On Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media after a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:53 pm

To understand House Speaker John Boehner's role in the government shutdown, you have to understand the 30 or so House Republican hard-liners and his relationship with them.

It's an uneasy one at best.

"Listen, we've got a diverse caucus," was how Boehner put it in mid-September, shortly after the 30 forced him to ditch his original plan for a temporary government funding bill.

"Whenever we're trying to put together a plan, we've got 233 members — all of whom have their own plan," he said. "It's tough to get them on the same track. We got there."

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Politics
4:52 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Ted Cruz Looms Large In Government Shutdown Drama

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to local residents during a fundraising picnic for the Iowa Republican Party in Des Moines in July.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:54 am

In the second day of a partial government shutdown, Congress is at a stalemate.

On Tuesday night, House Republicans tried to pass three small bills funding popular parts of the government, such as the national parks. But they failed. The White House had already threatened a veto.

That strategy, as with others in this fight, is credited to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

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NPR Story
8:22 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Senate Rejects House Spending Bill

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 10:09 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And on Capitol Hill, words of anger and frustration today over the increasing likelihood of a government shutdown. This morning in the House, members of both parties took to the floor and pointed fingers.

REPRESENTATIVE EARL BLUMENAUER: If you're serious about working together to solve problems, why don't you work together to solve problems?

REPRESENTATIVE TED POE: Where oh where has the Senate gone? Where oh where can they be? With time so short and issues so long, where oh where has the Senate gone?

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Politics
4:42 am
Fri September 27, 2013

House GOP Leaders Gear Up For Debt Ceiling Battle

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:07 am

Even as the potential government shutdown drama remains unresolved, House Republican leaders are moving on to the next deadline: the debt ceiling. Economists say defaulting on payments could be catastrophic, but many House Republicans believe the debt ceiling is the best place to take a stand. Some even say the risk of default really isn't all that bad.

It's All Politics
3:28 am
Fri September 20, 2013

House Nears Vote To Fund Government, Defund Obamacare

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks about the deadline to fund the government Thursday on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 11:18 am

The Republican-controlled House is set to vote Friday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for business through the middle of December. And the White House has already said if it makes it to the president's desk, he'll veto it. That's because the bill also would defund the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
5:07 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

House To Vote On Slashing $40 Billion From Food Stamps

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 7:07 pm

The House today is voting on a plan pushed its Tea Party wing to slash $40 billion from food stamps. That's twice as much as the original House farm bill contemplated, and eight times as much as the Senate bill.

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