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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4:59pm

Mon December 5, 2011
It's All Politics

Can Congress Really Compromise On Extending The Payroll Tax Cut?

Congress returned to Washington Monday with a pile of unfinished business, and no clarity on a path to getting it done. At the top of the congressional to-do list this week is extending a payroll tax holiday that meant about $1,000 in extra take-home pay for the typical family this year. It is set to expire at the end of the month.

Congressional leaders from both parties say the payroll tax cut is a must-pass measure. It's just not entirely clear how it's going to happen.

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8:00am

Sun December 4, 2011
Presidential Race

'Life Can Be A Challenge': Cain Suspends Run

Originally published on Sun December 4, 2011 10:13 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Herman Cain delivered his views to at Atlanta crowd of disappointed supporters.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

HERMAN CAIN: With a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD REACTION)

CORNISH: It was the last stop on the always unconventional journey for the former pizza chain CEO.

NPR's Tamara Keith has this look back at the Cain Train.

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6:11pm

Fri December 2, 2011
U.S.

GOP Leaders, Lawmakers Differ On Payroll Tax Cut

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 3:21 pm

House Speaker John Boehner wants his Republican colleagues to agree to a payroll tax cut extension.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Two different bills calling for an extension of a payroll tax holiday failed to pass the Senate late Thursday, but work on a compromise is continuing on Capitol Hill.

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers put forth concerted efforts to extend the measure, which is set to expire next month. Economists say failure to renew the tax cut, which allows the average American family to keep $900 a year of earnings, would hurt job growth.

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3:00pm

Tue November 29, 2011
Presidential Race

Cain Reassess His Presidential Campaign

A day after denying an Atlanta woman's claim that she had shared a 13-year affair with him, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain said during a morning conference call that he is "reassessing" his candidacy.

12:01am

Tue November 29, 2011
Politics

Before Holidays, Congress Still Has Plenty To Do

As soon as this week, the Senate could vote on a bill to extend and expand the payroll tax holiday that gave millions of Americans a bit more money in their paychecks this year.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

The congressional to-do list for the month of December is long.

The list includes things like agreeing on a way to keep the federal government funded past the middle of the month, making some routine and annual tax fixes, and deciding whether or not to continue the payroll tax holiday and extended benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Dawn Deane, a 49-year-old human resources professional from Philadelphia is particularly interested in that last item.

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12:01am

Mon November 21, 2011
Governing

For Debt Committee, No Final Hour Deal Apparent

Monday is the last day the congressional supercommittee can reach a deficit reduction deal and still make its Wednesday deadline. The legislation has to be publicly available for 48 hours before a vote and the clock is ticking, but instead of announcing an agreement, it is widely expected the committee will admit it has failed.

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4:34pm

Wed November 16, 2011
The Road Back To Work

Squabbles In Washington Frustrate Job Seekers

Ray Meyer, 55, had a 30-year career in banking before losing his job. He's been rolling from one temp assignment to the next since February.
Tamara Keith NPR

Part of an ongoing series

Being unemployed for more than two years changed the way Ray Meyer looks at politics. He has always leaned Republican and used to have little sympathy for those who were receiving unemployment benefits.

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12:01am

Tue November 15, 2011
Politics

Austrian School Economist Hayek Finds New Fans

Professor Friedrich von Hayek from Austria receives his Nobel Prize in Economy from Swedish King Carl Gustaf, December 1974.
AP

Second in a three-part series

These days it can feel like the country is unsteady — politically, economically. In a search for the way forward, scholars and politicians often turn to their fundamental beliefs. NPR is taking a look at some of the most influential philosophers whose ideas molded the present and could shape the future. You might not know all their names, but you're certainly familiar with their ideas. They are woven into the fabric of our society.

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3:30pm

Wed November 9, 2011
Herman Cain

Cain Donors Stand By Their Man For Now

Originally published on Wed November 9, 2011 8:31 pm

Herman Cain speaks at a press conference Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz., to rebut charges of sexual harassment.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

When talking to people who have given to a candidate's campaign, you'd expect to find true believers.

"I liked what I heard, and he seemed to be the kind of person that I would like to see be president of the United States," says Carl Ploeger, who has donated twice to embattled GOP hopeful Herman Cain.

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4:00am

Tue November 8, 2011
Politics

4th Woman Accuses Cain Of Sexual Harassment

Originally published on Tue November 8, 2011 7:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

When a Chicago woman came out yesterday to publicly accuse Herman Cain of an unwanted sexual advance, it marked a shift in this story. Up to that point, the three previous accusations had been anonymous. The Republican presidential candidate has firmly denied all the accusations of harassment, including yesterday's, which the woman claimed had occurred in 1997, when Cain was head of the National Restaurant Association.

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3:00pm

Mon November 7, 2011
Presidential Race

Newest Cain Accuser Holds Press Conference

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 8:04 pm

GOP presidential contender Herman Cain may have a difficult time getting his campaign back "on message" after a week spent responding to allegations of sexual harassment. Attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference in New York on Monday afternoon for a woman who says she was sexually harassed by Cain.

8:00am

Sat November 5, 2011
Election 2012

A Week Of Harassment For Herman Cain

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Quite a week for Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. He came to Washington, D.C. for a series of public events and meetings with members of Congress, but decade-old sexual harassment allegations dogged him all week long, and then late yesterday the story took another turn when the lawyer for one of the accusers made a public statement. NPR's Tamara Keith has the latest.

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5:57pm

Fri October 28, 2011
Politics

Groups That Plan To Lobby The Supercommittee

An NPR review found that more than 600 different groups and corporations say they intend to lobby around the work of the deficit reduction committee.

Alykat Flickr

In all, 619 different groups and corporations said they intend to lobby around the work of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known around Capitol Hill as the supercommittee. All of them mentioned the supercommittee or the legislation that created it in their mandatory third-quarter lobbying disclosure forms. Here is an alphabetical list of the organizations:

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10:38am

Fri October 28, 2011
Economy

Hundreds Try To Influence The Supercommittee

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 5:56 pm

The line for seating in the hearing room of the supercommittee's meeting on Wednesday. An NPR review found that 619 separate interest groups have reported lobbying the group.

Tinna Knuutila Sunlight Foundation

The deficit reduction committee, the so-called supercommittee, has less than a month to agree on massive spending cuts and deficit reduction. And so the race is on — not only for lawmakers but for interest groups, trade associations and corporations. An NPR analysis finds there are hundreds of them that want to influence the outcome.

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4:06pm

Fri October 21, 2011
It's All Politics

Will Cain's New 9-0-9 Tax Plan Really Help The Poor?

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks on Friday while unveiling his "Opportunity Zone" economic plan in front of the Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot in Detroit.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan has taken a lot of heat recently. One of the biggest criticisms: several independent analysts have found that under the plan, poor and middle class families would pay higher taxes while the richest of the rich would see a substantial tax cut. Today in Detroit, Cain unveiled his response.

"If you're at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9," said Cain with the abandoned Michigan Central Station in the background. "It's 9-0-9."

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3:00pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Election 2012

Cain's Tweaked Tax Plan Raises Taxes For The Poor

GOP presidential contender Herman Cain, who has made his reputation with his 9-9-9 tax plan, introduced the variant 9-0-9 plan for the poor, who would be exempt from the income portion of the plan. Experts said the poor, who pay little if any federal tax now, would still see a tax hike.

5:09pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Politics

Will Free Trade Agreements Really Create Jobs?

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 9:27 pm

Caterpillar products produced in Illinois, like the ones shown above, will be able to be exported to South Korea, Colombia and Panama duty free if Congress passes trade agreements with those countries on Wednesday. Obama says the agreements will provide a major boost to U.S. exports and support tens of thousands of jobs.

Seth Perlman AP

Congress approved with bipartisan support Wednesday much-delayed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The Obama administration and supporters in Congress have labeled these agreements jobs bills, though there are questions about how many jobs will really be created.

When Bill Lane, the Washington director for the heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, looks at the three trade deals, he sees opportunity.

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12:01am

Tue October 4, 2011
Politics

Running The Government On Temporary Extensions

Originally published on Sat December 15, 2012 1:54 pm

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a temporary measure — passed by the Senate last week — to keep the government funded through mid-November.

"Hopefully, we can certainly avoid any shutdown talk this time," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. "Get it done and continue along our mission to try and change the way spending occurs in this town."

These temporary funding extensions, lasting a few days or a few weeks, are pretty standard in Washington. Called "continuing resolutions," they go all the way back to 1876.

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5:57am

Sat September 24, 2011
Economy

Clean Car Loan Program Adds Fuel To Shutdown Fears

The once-rare possibility of a federal government shutdown has reared its head again, this time over House Republicans' desire to offset spending for disaster relief with money for other unrelated projects.

A clean-car loan program has become a key battleground. The House spending bill would take $1.5 billion from the program for disaster relief. Democrats say that would be a huge mistake.

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4:00am

Fri September 23, 2011
NPR Story

Data Show Housing Market Starting To Brighten

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP: On a Friday morning, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

One piece of positive economic news has emerged in an otherwise anxious week. The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose almost 19 percent over August of last year. It's more than what was expected, although it stops short of a real turn around, as NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

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4:49pm

Wed September 21, 2011
Economy

Political Heat Is Nothing New For The Fed

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 8:20 pm

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in July 2010. Bernanke has been heavily criticized by Republican presidential candidates in recent months.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday took the latest step in its effort to revive the economy, saying it will shift its portfolio of Treasury securities in a bid to drive down interest rates.

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7:38pm

Thu September 15, 2011
It's All Politics

The Senator Who Almost Shut Down The FAA

A partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration was averted right around 6:30 p.m., EST. That's when the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 in favor of a bill to temporarily extend funding for both the FAA and highway projects.

Sounds like an easy vote, right? Think again.

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5:10pm

Mon September 12, 2011
The Road Back To Work

The Road Back To Work: Randy Howland

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:30 pm

Whitney Curtis for NPR

Randy Howland, 51, is glad to be working again. He spent four months at the end of 2011 searching for work, again, the second time in one calendar year.

He's working in collections for a financial institution, working with people who are behind on their mortgages. He gathers information and figures out what opportunities there might be for a loan modification or refinance.

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4:00am

Fri September 9, 2011
Economy

It's Up To Congress Whether To Back Obama's Plan

NPR's Tamara Keith talks with members of Congress for reaction to President Obama's speech last night. Among other ideas in his plan, the president is proposing tax incentives to encourage businesses to hire unemployed and wounded veterans as well as Americans who have been without work for more than six months.

2:05pm

Mon September 5, 2011
The Road Back To Work

Bumps On The Road Back To Work

Originally published on Mon September 5, 2011 4:09 pm

Casaundra Bronner returned to work in July and says being able to walk her daughters to the bus in the morning is one of the benefits of her new job at a small company.
Tamara Keith NPR

Part of an ongoing series.

Like some 14 million Americans, the people in our series The Road Back to Work started the year unemployed and searching for a job.

Back in January, we gave six people, all living in St. Louis, Mo., digital recorders and asked them to document their experience as they went through the process of looking for a job.

Working, Still Struggling

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12:01am

Fri August 12, 2011
Your Money

Wall Street's Ups And Downs Leave Investors Worried

Michael Mussio, a portfolio manager at FBB Capital Partners, says phones have been ringing more than normal in recent days. "I think the main thing is — don't panic," he says.
Tamara Keith NPR

It's been a volatile couple of weeks on Wall Street. With all of the major stock indexes down more than 10 percent since mid-July, individual investors are wondering what they should do.

When was the last time you checked the movement in your brokerage account, your 401(k) or IRA?

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6:05am

Sun August 7, 2011
Economy

American Pride Takes A Hit With S&P's Downgrade

For generations, the United States and its debt — sold in the form of U.S. Treasuries — have been synonymous with safety. Now, though, the nation's sterling credit is tarnished. The ratings agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded the U.S. from AAA to AA-plus, one notch down. The downgrade has raised big questions about what this will mean for investors and for the nation as a whole.

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4:59am

Wed August 3, 2011
Economy

Deal Averts Default, But Doesn't Fix Debt Problems

The National Debt Clock, a billboard-size digital display showing the increasing U.S. debt, is seen in New York City on Monday. Congress passed a bill Tuesday that would raise the nation's debt limit.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The bill passed Tuesday to raise the nation's debt limit and avoid default includes as much as $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.

"It's an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means," President Obama said.

The deal was hard-fought, with cuts some say will be painful, but experts say it doesn't come close to fixing the country's debt problems.

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