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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Newt Gingrich
12:37 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Analysis: Gingrich's Tax Plan Would Benefit The Rich

Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, seen here during Saturday's ABC debate, is currently leading in GOP polls. His tax plan would introduce a 15 percent flat income tax.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

According to many polls, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now leading the Republican pack. His plan to rewrite the nation's tax policy hasn't gotten as much attention as some of his other proposals, but, according to a new analysis, it would require sweeping changes to the government.

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It's All Politics
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Congress At Impasse Over Must-Pass Measures

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to reporters at the Capitol on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Congress is supposed to head home for the holidays at the end of this week, but there's a whole lot of work to do before then. And for now at least, the parties remain divided over a number of other must-pass measures.

This is the part of the tango of Congress where the Republican House offers a plan.

"The House is going to do its job, and it's time for the Senate then to do its job," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at a press conference Monday.

Then, as if on cue, the Democratic Senate balked.

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It's All Politics
3:00 am
Fri December 9, 2011

GOP Objects To 'Millionaires Surtax'; Millionaires We Found? Not So Much

For the second week in a row, the Senate on Thursday voted down proposals to extend the payroll tax holiday through next year. In the case of the Democrats' proposal, Republicans objected to the "millionaires surtax" that would be used to pay for it.

Ever since the idea of the surtax was introduced weeks ago, Republicans in Congress have railed against it, arguing that it is a direct hit on small-business owners and other job creators.

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It's All Politics
2:59 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

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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Economy
1:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Dems Form New Plan To Fund Payroll Tax Cut

Having tried and failed to come up with a way to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut with a tax on millionaires, Senate Democrats came back with a new idea Monday: pay for it with the anticipated savings from ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Presidential Race
6:00 am
Sun December 4, 2011

'Life Can Be A Challenge': Cain Suspends Run

Originally published on Sun December 4, 2011 8:13 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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U.S.
4:11 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

GOP Leaders, Lawmakers Differ On Payroll Tax Cut

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

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 1:21 pm

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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Politics
10:01 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

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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Governing
10:01 pm
Sun November 20, 2011

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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It's All Politics
2:06 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

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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Herman Cain
3:40 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan Gets A Closer Look

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Herman Cain has seen his popularity spike over the past couple of weeks. It was confirmed Monday, with a new CNN poll, showing him essentially tied with Mitt Romney at the front of the pack. Cain credits his success to three numbers: 9-9-9.

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Politics
3:09 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Will Free Trade Agreements Really Create Jobs?

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

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 7:27 pm

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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Politics
10:01 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Running The Government On Temporary Extensions

Originally published on Sat December 15, 2012 11:54 am

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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Economy
3:57 am
Sat September 24, 2011

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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Economy
2:49 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Political Heat Is Nothing New For The Fed

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

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 6:20 pm

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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It's All Politics
5:38 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

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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The Road Back To Work
3:10 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

The Road Back To Work: Randy Howland

Whitney Curtis for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:30 am

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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The Road Back To Work
12:05 pm
Mon September 5, 2011

Bumps On The Road Back To Work

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

Originally published on Mon September 5, 2011 2:09 pm

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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Your Money
10:01 pm
Thu August 11, 2011

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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Economy
4:05 am
Sun August 7, 2011

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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Economy
2:59 am
Wed August 3, 2011

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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