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
8:03 am
Sun July 13, 2014

What Could $100 Million Buy You — Besides Campaign Ads In Kentucky?

Campaign spending in the Kentucky Senate race between GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes could reach $100 million.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 12:14 am

For the amount of money that's expected to be spent in the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate this year, you could buy a bottle of the state's own Maker's Mark whiskey for nearly every man, woman and child in the state.

Some observers say the election could end up as the most expensive Senate race in history, with spending topping $100 million. And why wouldn't it be? It's at the heart of the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

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Politics
6:42 am
Tue February 4, 2014

The Deficit: The Talk Is Big, But The Number Is Shrinking

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

The deficit is the nation's annual budget shortfall, the difference between what the government spends in one year and what it takes in. In 2009, '10, '11 and '12, it was huge.

"You look at the president's budget," said House Speaker John Boehner in 2012, "and we've got trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see."

"We're going to have trillion-dollar deficits for years to come," said former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.

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It's All Politics
7:18 am
Wed January 8, 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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Politics
9:09 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 7:04 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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The Salt
7:16 am
Wed December 11, 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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The Salt
6:49 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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Politics
7:19 am
Sun September 29, 2013

House Vote Brings Government To The Verge Of A Shutdown

The lights are on at the Capitol as the House of Representatives works into the night Saturday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 11:22 am

Shortly after midnight Sunday morning, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would keep the government's lights on. It would also delay the Affordable Care Act for a year, making the legislation a non-starter for Senate Democrats and the president.

The ball is back in the Senate's court now, with fewer than 40 hours until a government shutdown begins.

The House bill does three things. First, it's a temporary measure to keep government operations funded through the middle of December.

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It's All Politics
7:06 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Report: IRS Scrutiny Worse For Conservatives

The Internal Revenue Service is accused of singling out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 11:56 am

House Republicans investigating IRS targeting of groups for extra scrutiny say they have proof conservatives had it worse.

A House Ways and Means Committee staff analysis of the applications of 111 conservative and progressive groups applying for tax exempt status found conservative applicants faced "more questions, more denials, more delays," says committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.

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It's All Politics
10:00 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Top Democrat Says Documents Show IRS Also Targeted Liberals

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (right) speaks with the committee's ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, during a hearing last month.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 12:04 pm

Newly released documents appear to further undermine the idea that Tea Party groups were the only ones given extra scrutiny by the IRS for potential political activity.

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It's All Politics
9:50 am
Wed June 19, 2013

IRS Staffer: 'What I Did Was Not Targeting'

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (right) speaks with the committee's ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, earlier this month, during a hearing on IRS conference spending.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 11:18 am

Another interview with a key IRS employee, another oblique connection to Washington, D.C., and yet still no explosive revelations in the scandal surrounding the agency's targeting of Tea Party groups.

That, it seems, was precisely the point of Rep. Elijah Cummings' decision to release 205 pages of redacted interview transcripts Tuesday (here and here).

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