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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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With an executive order Thursday, President Obama authorized sanctions on Russia for its involvement in Ukraine. Speaker Boehner praised the sanctions and offered congressional support going forward.

On Tuesday, President Obama will unveil his budget proposal for the coming year. But for all the sound and fury surrounding the president's spending plan, it's likely to have very little significance. Congress routinely ignores the president's budget. And lawmakers have already settled on overall spending levels for the coming year.

That's led some to ask whether it's time to bring the curtain down on this annual exercise in political theater.

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It's a sign of deeply partisan times when a Democratic president and a Republican House speaker make headlines just by sitting down and talking to each other. That's what happened today in a rare hour-long meeting that aides call constructive. How constructive is not exactly clear. And while the president and House speaker agreed to work together in areas where there's common ground, that appears to be very small territory.

President Obama met Friday with more than a dozen Democratic governors at the White House. They emerged from the meeting declaring their united support for a higher national minimum wage.

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President Obama is in Mexico today, for a one-day summit meeting with his fellow North American leaders. Trade tops the agenda. And President Obama signed an executive order today designed to speed up cross-border commerce. But the president's broader trade agenda appears to be slowing in the face of stiff congressional opposition.

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A new report out this afternoon poured some gasoline on the already raging debate over whether to raise the minimum wage. The report from the Congressional Budget Office says boosting the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour, as President Obama has proposed, would lift 900,000 people out of poverty. But it would also cost about half-a-million jobs.

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In living rooms and sports bars across the country later today, football fans -and yes, just those of us who want to watch the budget commercial and dig into nachos - will sit down to watch the Super Bowl. In Denver and Seattle living rooms, there will be less casual viewing, of course, and that goes for anywhere else that fans of the Broncos and Seahawks gather.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Labor Department says there are nearly four million people in America who've been unemployed for six months or more. That number has remained stubbornly high, even as the overall unemployment rate has fallen. Yesterday, President Obama met with U.S. business leaders and urged them not to overlook qualified job applicants just because they've been out of work for a while.

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President Obama has reignited the debate over the nation's marijuana laws. In an interview with The New Yorker, the president said that the thinks smoking pot is less dangerous for the individual consumer than drinking alcohol. He quickly added that he doesn't encourage the use of marijuana, but he said it's important that experiments with legalizing pot in Colorado and Washington state go forward.

President Obama plans to meet this spring with Pope Francis.

On Tuesday, a White House spokesman announced the president will visit the Vatican as part of European trip in March. The president is said to be looking forward to talking with the pope about their "shared commitment to fighting poverty" and income inequality.

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In other personnel news, the president has nominated Stanley Fischer to serve as the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He would replace Janet Yellen, who's been promoted to chairman of the central bank. Yellen reportedly recruited Fischer personally to serve as her deputy. He spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, Stanley Fischer is credited with helping that country weather the financial crisis better than most and with training many of the world's top economists.

The Justice Department will answer a challenge Friday morning to a controversial provision in the new health care law. It requires most employers that offer health insurance to include birth control at no cost.

A group of Catholic nuns has objected to that, and this week they won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's an unusual test case, but it won't be the last one.

The House adjourned for the holidays Thursday night after passing a two-year budget agreement. But despite pressure from Democrats, the deal did not include an extension of the long-term unemployment benefit program.

While the issue may be reconsidered in January, more than a million Americans will lose their benefits between Christmas and New Year's.

The Obama administration just released the latest sign-up numbers for its troubled health insurance exchange website. Enrollment picked up last month, after a disastrous start in October. Still, the number of people signing up for coverage is below the administration's original forecasts.

Enrollment in the federal government's new health insurance exchange picked up sharply in November, but the number of people signing up for coverage still trails original forecasts. Officials from the Obama administration say they expect the pace of enrollments will continue to increase now that the insurance website is working more smoothly.

Users have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage that begins in January.

The Obama administration says it has patched hundreds of software bugs infecting the government's health insurance website. That includes the notorious "prison glitch."

Martha Freeman of Pennsylvania encountered the bug when she tried to sign up for coverage for herself and her adult children. The website wanted documentation of the children's incarceration status.

Never mind they'd never been in prison. The website was soon locked up.

Freeman figured she was stuck in solitary, until she called the toll-free help line and discovered she wasn't alone.

As technical problems with the government's new health insurance marketplace slow the pace of sign-up, a variety of "fixes" have been proposed. But some of these would create their own challenges. In rough order from least to most disruptive, here are some of the ideas:

1) Fix the website on schedule
This is everyone's favorite idea. The Obama administration says it hopes to have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for most users by the end of November, though it's not clear that target will be met.

This week, Congress dedicates a new bust of Winston Churchill in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. The sculpture is meant to honor the British statesman's legacy of determination and resolve.

It's also a salute to Churchill's friendship with the United States — summed up in an oft-quoted line that Maine Sen. Angus King used during the recent congressional debt-ceiling debate.

As King put it: "Winston Churchill once famously observed that Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else."

Americans started thinking differently about U.S. dependence on imported oil 40 years ago this Sunday. Decades later, the U.S. is in the midst of a homegrown energy boom.

The oil embargo began in 1973. The United States had long taken cheap and plentiful oil for granted when Saudi Arabia shocked the country by suddenly cutting off all direct oil shipments in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel. Other Arab countries followed suit.

Prices soared. Gasoline lines stretched for blocks. Richard Nixon became the first of many U.S. presidents to call for energy independence.

The government shutdown grinds on with no immediate relief in sight.

President Obama says he's willing to talk with Republican lawmakers about adjustments to the health care law and other issues, but only after they re-open the government and lift the threat of a federal default.

"I'm happy to negotiate with you on anything. I don't think any one party has a monopoly on wisdom. But you don't negotiate by putting a gun to the other person's head," Obama says.

Experts in negotiation say the president's stance may be justified, but it's also risky.

This week's government shutdown could be just a warmup for an even bigger budget battle in a couple of weeks.

Congress has to raise the limit on the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow by Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is not raised on time, President Obama warns that Washington won't be able to keep paying its bills.

"It'd be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is," Obama said Tuesday. "It would be an economic shutdown."

Drawn-out fights over spending bills are nothing new for Congress. But that's where the fights used to stay: in Congress. The rest of the country didn't have to pay much attention to countdown clocks and all this drama.

"In the '60s and '70s down until 1980, it was not taken that seriously at all," says Charles Tiefer, a former legal adviser to the House of Representatives, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School. In the old days, he says, when lawmakers reached a budget stalemate, the federal workforce just went about its business.

President Obama's health care law has so far survived challenges in Congress and the courts. But its biggest test could begin next week. That's when the online marketplaces offering health care coverage to the uninsured are set to start signing people up. The question is, will they come?

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