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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.

Even as they lick their wounds from a failed Affordable Care Act repeal effort, Republican leaders in Washington are looking ahead to the next battle — over taxes.

"I would say that we will probably start going very, very strongly for the big tax cuts and tax reform," President Trump told reporters Friday. "That will be next."

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed, though he conceded that the defeat on health care was a setback.

"This does make tax reform more difficult," Ryan said. "But it does not in any way make it impossible."

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And now we're back with NPR's congressional correspondent, Sue Davis. Hi there again.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey there.

MCEVERS: And we have White House correspondent Scott Horsley also. Hi, Scott.

Updated: 5:08 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's new budget blueprint aims to quantify the president's nationalistic agenda in dollars and cents. The plan, released Thursday morning, calls for significant increases in military and border-security spending, along with corresponding cuts in many other parts of the government.

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The White House is celebrating some encouraging numbers this week. Factory jobs are up. Illegal border crossings are down.

The new administration is claiming credit on both fronts, although much of the change so far is psychological.

House Republicans' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would make significant changes to the U.S. health insurance system. But that's just the beginning.

"There are three phases of this plan," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told reporters this week. And the bill now being marked up in House committees is just the first step.

President Trump is offering some Twitter support for the Obamacare replacement plan put forward by House Republicans.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump described the GOP blueprint as "Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill." He suggested it would be a welcome change from the Affordable Care Act, which he called "a complete and total disaster."

"I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives," the president said Tuesday afternoon during a White House meeting with GOP lawmakers.

The Trump administration is promising an aggressive effort to pry open foreign markets for U.S. exports, even if that means sidestepping the World Trade Organization.

The president's trade policy agenda, made public late Wednesday, says the administration will "use all possible leverage" to open global markets to American goods and services, while cracking down on unfair trading practices by other countries.

President Trump and his advisers have begun putting some red meat on the bones of the president's "America First" agenda.

Trump is expected to talk more about that when he addresses a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night. As with Brexit and other nationalist movements, Trump sees his election as part of a broader rejection of globalization.

"Erasing national borders does not make people safer or more prosperous," Trump told supporters in Melbourne, Fla., this month. "It undermines democracy and trades away prosperity. We're giving it away."

President Trump signed an executive action on Friday aimed at reducing red tape. It directs each federal agency to set up a task force to identify costly regulations that could be scaled back.

"Every regulation should have to pass a simple test," Trump said. "Does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers? If the answer is no, we will be getting rid of it — and getting rid of it quickly."

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At his White House news conference this week, President Trump painted a grim picture of the challenges facing the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess.

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So far, President Trump has tried to run the White House much the way he ran his family business. That means little rigid organization and a skeleton crew of loyal, but not necessarily experienced, staffers.

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And now for reaction from the White House, we turn to NPR's Scott Horsley, who's there. Scott, tell us about the administration's reaction tonight.

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President Trump is promising a concerted effort to destroy ISIS. And today, the president spoke to service members at the center of that fight when he visited MacDill Air Force Base, home to the U.S. Central Command in Florida.

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Next Friday, the Labor Department will issue its first jobs and unemployment report of Donald Trump's presidency. Forecasters expect little change in the jobless rate, which was 4.7 percent in December. That's down from 10 percent during the depths of the recession in late 2009.

Trump repeatedly claimed during the campaign that the federal government was understating the real unemployment rate.

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Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is considering alternative ways to pay for the border wall, backtracking on the president's oft-repeated promise that Mexico would foot the bill.

A White House spokesman said one idea taking shape is to apply a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, as well as other countries with which the U.S. has a trade deficit. That would effectively saddle U.S. consumers with a significant portion of the wall's cost, estimated at $15 billion or more.

President Trump began his first full workweek in the White House by hosting a breakfast "listening session" with business executives. In his opening remarks, Trump largely stuck to traditional Republican themes of lower taxes and reduced regulation.

But he also reiterated his threat to impose a border tax on companies that move jobs overseas — a plan with little support from the president's fellow Republicans in Congress. Trump said he hopes to hold similar meetings with business leaders on a regular basis, perhaps quarterly.

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Washington D.C.'s National Cathedral hosted a prayer service this morning for the nation's new president and vice president.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

As promised, President Trump got to work on Day One, spending some time in the Oval Office in between the inaugural parade and a trio of formal balls.

Trump signed an executive order Friday night directing government agencies to "ease the burdens" of Obamacare while the new administration and Congress work toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus presented Trump with the order, which he described as: "An executive order minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal."

President-elect Donald Trump plans to hit the ground running. He could sign his first executive orders within hours of taking the oath of office.

"I've asked my transition team to develop a list of executive actions we can take on Day 1 to restore our laws and bring back our jobs," Trump said in a videotaped message in November. "It's about time."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence echoed that message in a meeting with reporters on Thursday.

"Our job is to be ready on Day 1," Pence said. "We are all ready to go to work."

The incoming president has promised to:

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Going into yesterday's press conference with Donald Trump, there were all kinds of questions about the president-elect's potential conflicts of interest. This morning, there are still questions.

President Obama will address the nation for what's likely to be the last time Tuesday night. He says the prime-time address from his adopted hometown of Chicago will be a chance to celebrate the successes of the past eight years and to offer some thoughts on where the nation goes from here.

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