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
7:07 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 10:19 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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Politics
4:30 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Is It Ever Too Early To Launch A 2016 Presidential Bid?

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 6:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As we just heard, Republican Party approval ratings are lower than ever, but that's not stopping Texas Senator Ted Cruz from taking a post-shutdown victory lap in Iowa tonight. Cruz is headlining the state Republican Party's annual Reagan dinner and he's often talked about as a potential presidential candidate. Iowa, of course, holds the first presidential caucus. NPR's Tamara Keith is in Des Moines to hear the speech and she joins us now. Hey there, Tamara.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.

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Politics
5:43 am
Fri October 25, 2013

GOP Lacks A Clear Favorite For Iowa Senate Race

With Democrat Tom Harkin retiring, Iowa will have an open U.S. Senate seat for the first time in nearly 30 years. For Republicans hoping to gain a majority in the Senate, this is a key opening. But the GOP is far from settling on a candidate.

Politics
3:54 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Boehner Signals He'll Cave To Stave Off Debt Default

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 5:39 pm

With hours left before the U.S. Treasury could start defaulting on its obligation, House Speaker John Boehner finally appears to have relented to allow an end to the standoff using a mix of Democratic and Republican votes.

Politics
3:52 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Hope For Solution As Obama, Boehner Agree To Keep Talking

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The government is still shut down. And the debt ceiling still needs to be raised or the country may not be able to pay all of its bills after next week. And how either of those issues is resolved remains unclear. But as NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith reports, there has been some movement.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Boehner's New Pitch To Republicans And Obama: Push Back Debt Deadline

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:33 pm

House Speaker John Boehner pitched his Republican caucus Thursday on the idea of pushing back the debt limit deadline from next week to late November.

Business
1:56 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 3:38 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
5:51 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

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
3:36 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Shutdown Stalemate Continues In Dueling Press Conferences

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:24 pm

House Republicans had a closed door meeting this morning, and emerged with the same talking point they've used all week: They just want to negotiate with the president. President Obama quickly gave his response: He will not negotiate over the government shutdown or the debt ceiling.

Politics
3:55 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Politics Within The GOP Keeps Shutdown In Motion

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 4:30 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
4:04 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Republicans Pivot From Obamacare To Find Way Out Of Shutdown

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:24 pm

Not long ago, the government shutdown was all about the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans' attempt to defund it. But in recent days, it seems to have become more about finding some way for House Speaker John Boehner to claim some sort of victory.

Politics
4:17 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 11:53 am

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
3:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

As Shutdown Drags, Boehner Shifts Focus From Health Law

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish with no end in sight. President Obama is gathering the four top Congressional leaders to the White House this evening, but it's really just one person he'll need to persuade, House Speaker John Boehner.

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Politics
4:13 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 10:54 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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Politics
3:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Is There An End In Sight For The Government Shutdown?

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 9:05 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The federal government has been at least partially shut down for 20 hours now. There are barricades in front of national monuments and hundreds of thousands of employees are facing furlough and uncertainty about when or if they will be paid. And on Capitol Hill, there seems to be no clear end to the shutdown. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith joins us now from the Capitol.

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