Scott Horsley

Scott Horsley is a White House correspondent for NPR News. He reports on the policy and politics of the Obama Administration, with a special emphasis on economic issues.

The 2012 campaign is the third presidential contest Horsley has covered for NPR. He previously reported on Senator John McCain's White House bid in 2008 and Senator John Kerry's campaign in 2004. Thanks to this experience, Horsley has become an expert in the motel shampoo offerings of various battleground states.

Horsley took up the White House beat after serving as a San Diego-based business correspondent for NPR where he covered fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before joining NPR in 2001, Horsley was a reporter for member station KPBS-FM, where he received numerous honors, including a Public Radio News Directors' award for coverage of the California energy crisis.

Earlier in his career, Horsley worked as a reporter for WUSF-FM in Tampa, Florida, and as a news writer and reporter for commercial radio stations in Boston and Concord, New Hampshire. Horsley began his professional career as a production assistant for NPR's Morning Edition.

Horsley earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and an MBA from San Diego State University.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

When President Obama meets with the president of China tomorrow, he will have his National Security adviser at his side. Tom Donilon set the stage for this summit during a trip to Beijing last week. Now he's stepping down.

NPR's Scott Horsley has this look at his legacy and the woman Obama has tapped to replace him.

President Obama fired a warning shot Tuesday in the battle over Senate confirmations: He nominated three new judges to the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, and he challenged Senate Republicans not to stand in their way.

Obama complained about procedural roadblocks that have tied up many of his previous nominees — sometimes for years.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

President Obama surrounded himself with college students at the White House on Friday and warned that the cost of student loans is about to go up.

Interest rates on government-backed college loans are set to double July 1 — unless Congress agrees on a fix before then. Obama has threatened to veto a House-passed bill that would let the cost of student loans go up and down with the market.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of President Obama's top economic advisers is leaving the White House later this year, to return to his teaching job at Princeton. Since 2011, Alan Krueger has chaired the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

NPR's Scott Horsley takes this look back at his time in the White House.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: One of Alan Krueger's tasks at the White House is deciphering the many different signals the economy sends, including the closely watched jobs report that typically comes out on the first Friday of the month.

President Obama toured the wreckage Sunday, promising federal help for the people of Moore during what's sure to be a long rebuilding process. The president's message was not overtly political. He did, however, take the opportunity to highlight the important role the government can play — and not just when disaster strikes.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn to another story for now: The acting head of the IRS has resigned, but is still facing questions about the agency. Lawmakers continue their probe into the federal tax agency targeting Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.

The Obama administration is doing some intensive damage control this evening. Tonight, the president announced that the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, is being pushed out over heightened scrutiny given to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We have more details today on missteps by the Internal Revenue Service, specifically in the way the IRS processed applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations. An Inspector General's report says the problems were not limited to low-level agency employees.

Last week the IRS apologized for targeting such groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. Scott, what more have you learned from the Inspector General's report?

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama travels to Texas on Thursday for the second time in as many weeks. He will talk about job training and economic opportunity, but he may have a political opportunity on his mind as well.

Obama lost Texas by more than 1 million votes last year. But Democrats believe their fortunes in the Lone Star State may soon change, thanks to demographics and a new organizational push.

During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.

That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. This week, the Treasury Department announced it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.

More online retailers would have to collect sales tax under a bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week. The measure won strong bipartisan backing on a procedural vote Monday, and President Obama has said he would sign it.

The political battle over the bill pits online retailers against brick-and-mortar stores — and, in some cases, against other online sellers.

President Obama's newly released tax return shows his effective income tax rate was 18.4 percent last year. He'll likely pay a somewhat higher rate in 2013, and that tax bill would be even bigger if Congress were to adopt the recommendations in the president's own budget, unveiled this week.

President Obama was in Denver on Wednesday to rally support for gun control laws. Colorado has stepped up on both background checks and ammunition magazines, and Democrats there fear backlash next year.

President Obama is trying to regain some traction for federal gun control measures by visiting states that are moving forward on their own.

On Wednesday, the president speaks in Colorado, where lawmakers recently passed a series of bills requiring background checks for all gun purchases and limiting the size of ammunition magazines.

Obama would like to see similar measures adopted nationwide. But if Colorado serves as an inspiration for the president, it also provides a cautionary tale.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And President Obama heads home from the Middle East today after a mixed reception to his four-day visit. Mr. Obama spent much of that time in Israel trying to lay the groundwork to revive the long-stalled peace process with Palestinians. He also traveled to the West Bank and met with Jordan's King Abdullah. NPR's Scott Horsley has a recap.

President Obama is urging both Israelis and Palestinians not to abandon long-stalled peace talks. The president has been practicing some low-key shuttle diplomacy this week.

President Obama is hoping for a spring thaw in White House-congressional relations.

The president had dinner Wednesday night with a small group of Republican lawmakers. He's also planning rare visits to Capitol Hill next week to discuss his agenda with both Democrats and Republicans.

Aides say Obama is trying to locate what he calls a "caucus of common sense" in Congress to tackle the country's long-term budget challenges.

President Obama rounds out his Cabinet for his second term, nominating three new leaders Monday: Walmart Foundation's Sylvia Mathews Burwell for budget chief, MIT scientist Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department and veteran regulator Gina McCarthy to run the EPA — a post that's likely be a lightning rod during Senate confirmations.

President Obama plans to announce three Cabinet-level nominations Monday, including a new administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, who could be on the hot seat in the looming battle over global warming.

Gina McCarthy, currently an assistant administrator in the wing of the EPA that regulates air pollution, is the president's pick to head the EPA.

They've been everywhere this week: dire warnings about threats posed by across-the-board federal spending cuts.

Unless Congress acts, the cuts are due to take effect a week from Friday. The administration is trying to drive home the ways that could affect you.

For example, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday that air traffic controllers will have to take unpaid days off beginning in April. Fewer controllers on the job could mean airport delays, and some airlines may decide to cancel flights.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the automatic spending cuts due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week will damage U.S. national security.

In a letter to Congress, he said those cuts would put the military on a path toward a "hollow force." But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.

"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.

The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.

President Obama will cap off a busy week of politicking with some R&R in Florida.

Obama plans to travel to the West Palm Beach area for what his spokesman called "some well-deserved downtime."

"He's going to spend Presidents Day weekend relaxing with some friends," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "There's no work on the schedule."

President Obama's choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission has prosecuted terrorists and mobsters. If she's confirmed, Mary Jo White's next challenge will be tackling reckless behavior on Wall Street.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama may be going into the next big budget fight without his long-time treasury secretary. Timothy Geithner had been planning to leave before the start of the president's second term, but that would mean he is departing with the debt ceiling still looming and the Treasury scrambling to keep up with the government's bills.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, Secretary Geithner has made no secret of his plans to leave the government, but it sounds like his departure could be complicated.

The Consumer Price Index is one of the most familiar measures in economics and politics. But some in Washington want to change the way the index is calculated to better reflect people's shopping habits.

While the proposed change is described as a technical fix, it could also cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Ben Franklin famously observed that nothing is certain but death and taxes.

So far, Congress hasn't repealed the former, but the future of estate taxes — a largely overlooked piece of the "fiscal cliff" — remains uncertain as this year draws to a close.

Until now, most of the year-end tax debate has focused on the income tax, but another battle could be brewing over estate taxes.

As leaders in Washington try to make a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts slated to go into effect in the new year, one major focus of the negotiations is whether to let taxes go up on the rich.

The Obama administration wants to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans have countered with a proposal that they say would raise revenue through ending loopholes and deductions in the tax code and would not increase tax rates.

Pages