Andrea Seabrook

Andrea Seabrook covers Capitol Hill as NPR's Congressional Correspondent.

In each report, Seabrook explains the daily complexities of legislation and the longer trends in American politics. She delivers critical, insightful reporting – from the last Republican Majority, through the speakership of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats' control of the House, to the GOP landslide of 2010. She and NPR's Peter Overby won the prestigious Joan S. Barone award for their Dollar Politics series, which exposed the intense lobbying effort around President Obama's Health Care legislation. Seabrook and Overby's most recent collaboration, this time on the flow of money during the 2010 midterm elections, was widely lauded and drew a huge audience spike on NPR.org.

An authority on the comings and goings of daily life on Capitol Hill, Seabrook has covered Congress for NPR since January 2003 She took a year-and-a-half break, in 2006 and 2007, to host the weekend edition of NPR's newsmagazine, All Things Considered. In that role, Seabrook covered a wide range of topics, from the uptick in violence in the Iraq war, to the history of video game music.

A frequent guest host of NPR programs, including Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation, Seabrook has also anchored NPR's live coverage of national party conventions and election night in 2006 and 2008.

Seabrook joined NPR in 1998 as an editorial assistant for the music program, Anthem. After serving in a variety of editorial and production positions, she moved to NPR's Mexico Bureau to work as a producer and translator, providing fill-in coverage of Mexico and Central America. She returned to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1999 and worked on NPR's Science Desk and the NPR/National Geographic series, "Radio Expeditions." Later she moved to NPR's Morning Edition, starting as an editorial assistant and then moving up to Assistant Editor. She then began her on-air career as a weekend general assignment reporter for all NPR programs.

Before coming to NPR, Seabrook lived, studied and worked in Mexico City, Mexico. She ran audio for movies and television, and even had a bit part in a Mexican soap opera.

Seabrook earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Earlham College and studied Latin American literature at UNAM - La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. While in college she worked at WECI, the student-run public radio station at Earlham College.

Election 2012
6:10 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Ryan Brings Big Ideas, And Some Risk, To GOP Ticket

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is popular with conservatives and brings enthusiasm to the ticket. He won his House seat at 28, which means that now, at 42, he's a seasoned legislator.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 7:43 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's newly announced running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, has youth and experience. A conservative from a swing state, he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up.

He also brings a kind of enthusiasm Romney could use: He's a darling of the conservative base that Romney has had a harder time winning over.

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The Veepstakes
2:22 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Budget Hawk Ryan Offers Romney Risk, Reward

Rep. Paul Ryan (left), R-Wis., and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Appleton, Wis., on March 30.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Among those on Mitt Romney's list of potential running mates, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has youth and experience, he's a conservative from a swing state, and he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up.

But the chairman of the House Budget Committee would not be the safest of choices.

Back in February, when the Republican primary was still in full swing and the party's right wing was conspicuously unhappy with the idea of Romney, tax hawk Grover Norquist spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

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Business
2:54 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HSBC Accused Of Letting Cartels Launder Money

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:16 pm

A Senate committee looked at the failure of HSBC bank to police money laundering.

Politics
3:00 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Undeterred, GOP Vows To Repeal Health Care Law

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 4:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Just last week, Republican leaders were warning their rank and file not to gloat if the health care law were overturned. Well, after the decision came yesterday, GOP leaders regrouped and vowed to keep fighting. NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports.

ANDREA SEABROOK, BYLINE: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stepped up to the microphone.

REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CANTOR: If for nothing else, today's health care decision underscores the importance of this election.

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Politics
3:42 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Congress Taking Student Loans, Highway Bill To Wire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 7:06 pm

Congressional leaders on Tuesday said they were close to a deal to solve two big issues facing lawmakers — student loan interest rates and federal highway funding.

Both issues with looming deadlines have high stakes for middle-income Americans: If Congress fails to reach agreements by this weekend, the federal highway program would come to a halt, and student loan interest rates would double, to 6.8 percent.

Student Loans

President Obama has been hammering on the issue of student loans for days.

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Mitt Romney
1:00 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Romney's Next Challenge: Woo Skeptical Republicans

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets attendees at the conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando, Fla., on June 21. The presumptive GOP nominee took knocks from congressional Republicans during the party's presidential primaries.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 9:30 am

The battering Mitt Romney took from Republican rivals during the primary made big news. What seemed less noteworthy at the time — the knocks he took from Republicans in Congress — is now much more significant if there is to be a President Romney.

"He's the least of the candidates running right now that would be considered a Tea Party candidate," Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told CNN.

After Romney won Florida, GOP Rep. Allen West told CBS that Romney has to do a far better job in "making the appeal as far as being a strong constitutional conservative."

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Election 2012
1:04 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Big Political Donors Shy Away From Public Scrutiny

Charles Koch of Koch Industries speaks in 2007 about his book The Science of Success in Wichita, Kan.
Bo Rader MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:19 am

Several dozen wealthy donors have taken advantage of this post-Citizens United world, writing seven-figure checks to political superPACs.

Yet it seems there's something wealthy donors weren't counting on when they wrote those checks — attracting attention, including from the political opposition and the media.

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Politics
3:03 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Sky's The Limit In Campaign Cash For Wis. Governor

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, greets supporters Tuesday in Racine, Wis.
Brian Kersey UPI /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 5:53 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker vastly out-raised and outspent his Democratic challenger in the state's recall election, largely on the strength of major donations from across the country.

One reason for that was a quirk in Wisconsin law, which lets a governor in Walker's situation bypass limits on political donations.

Wisconsin law says candidates for governor normally may not take donations of more than $10,000 each. That was the limit under which Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrat, operated in the recall election being decided Tuesday at the polls.

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It's All Politics
9:14 am
Fri May 25, 2012

#FollowFriday: A Tiny Shred Of Political Authenticity

Rep.Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is a regular on Twitter. Here, he plays guitar at a festival last July in Whitmore Lake, Mich.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:56 am

Note: We've asked NPR journalists to share their top five (or so) political Twitter accounts, and we're featuring the series on #FollowFriday. Here are recommendations from reporter Andrea Seabrook (@RadioBabe).

I have a thing about political fakes on Twitter. I HATE them. And when I say fakes, I mean a handle that appears to be a senator or representative, but is very obviously written by some 22-year-old staffer.

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Politics
2:59 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Remember The Debt Ceiling Debate? It's Back

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks at the 2012 Fiscal Summit held by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation on May 15 in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:22 pm

A storm is brewing in Washington that could darken political debate for months to come. It's about the debt, the deficit, taxes and spending — all hot topics lawmakers have been fighting about for years now.

This time, though, there's a deadline, and the consequences of inaction would be immediate. That has many in Washington saying: Here we go again.

In the past week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have begun a new round of sparring over the U.S. debt ceiling.

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Planet Money
1:31 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Why Lobbyists Dodge Calls From Congressmen

"You spend most of your time dodging calls." - Jimmy Williams, former lobbyist
Courtesy of Jimmy Williams

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:36 am

This story is part of our series on money in politics.

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn't always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

House Investigator Issa Has Faced Allegations As Well

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House oversight committee, made news recently for going after the Justice Department's botched gun operation, known as Fast and Furious. Here, Issa listens during Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony in February.
Kevin LaMarque Reuters/Landov

The man driving the investigation into the General Services Administration, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, took the top seat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after the GOP won a majority in 2010.

Issa has led several splashy investigations since. But he's also been dogged by allegations of his own.

Issa has made news in recent months by threatening to subpoena Attorney General Eric Holder, and by calling a panel of only men to talk about women's contraception.

The Car Alarm Voice

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Planet Money
5:35 am
Fri April 6, 2012

The Most (And Least) Lucrative Committees In Congress

Lam Thuy Vo The Sunlight Foundation

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 9:19 am

This story is part of Planet Money's series on money in politics. This post was originally published on March 30. It was updated on April 6.

Most of the nitty-gritty action in Congress happens in committees.

Not surprisingly, campaign contributions flow to members of the committees that big donors are really interested in — like, say, the ways and means committee, which oversees the tax code.

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Planet Money
2:49 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

On Tour With Nancy Pelosi, Fundraising Rock Star

Nancy Pelosi has raised $300 million for Democrats.
J. Scott Applewhite ASSOCIATED PRESS

This story is part of a Planet Money series on money in politics. Also see our story, "Senator By Day, Telemarketer By Night, and listen to us this weekend on This American Life.

Democrats love Nancy Pelosi. Republicans hate Nancy Pelosi.

One key reason for both the love and the hate: Nancy Pelosi is incredibly good at her job. And a huge part of that job is raising money.

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It's All Politics
2:42 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Obama Revs Up House Democrats For Election-Year Fight

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat., introduces President Obama at the House Democratic Issues Conference on Friday in Cambridge, Md.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 8:09 am

President Obama flew out to Maryland's Eastern Shore on Friday to fire up his rank and file in Congress.

House Democrats have spent the past few days in their annual retreat, regrouping and strategizing for the year to come. Lawmakers say their hopes for success — in the economy and in politics — depend on sticking together and sending the same message to Americans.

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Politics
2:00 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Members Of Congress React To Obama's Speech

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 6:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Though millions of Americans watched the televised speech, the president's ostensible audience was right in front of him - Congress. His relations with many Republican lawmakers are icy at best. And even his alliances with Democrats had been put under stress at times in the past year.

The lawmakers' responses to the speech ranged from predictable to somewhat surprised. NPR's Andrea Seabrook listened to lawmakers after the speech.

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Politics
10:01 pm
Sun January 22, 2012

House GOP's 2012 Mission: Unity Against Obama

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, arrives for a news conference Dec. 22 to announce that he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., negotiated a deal on the payroll tax cut that was set to expire at the end of the year.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 7:25 am

The last battle scar of 2011 for the GOP came in December, when House Republicans painted themselves into a corner on extending unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut. The fight exposed the party's internal rifts and the loose control of its leaders.

One GOP lawmaker called it "a public relations fiasco." They could compromise with the Democrats or allow taxes to go up — neither option palatable to large portions of the majority.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

New Hampshire Voters Speak Out

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, for some perspective, New Hampshire accounts for a tiny portion of the delegates Republicans are competing for – just 5 percent. Bigger states later on in the election season will award many more delegates. But voters in the Granite State feel their votes serve as an important vetting process, a springboard for candidates. And NPR's Andrea Seabrook spent election day talking to those voters.

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Presidential Race
2:48 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Spotlight Shines On Late Riser Rick Santorum

Then-Sen. Rick Santorum is interviewed after a debate with his Democratic challenger, Bob Casey, in 2006. Santorum later lost the Senate seat to Casey.
Alex Wong Getty Images for Meet the Press

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 8:29 am

Rick Santorum has been upsetting elections from the beginning.

He was only 32 years old when he toppled a seven-term incumbent in a majority Democratic district in western Pennsylvania.

Just four years later, Santorum rode the Republican wave of 1994 into the Senate representing Pennsylvania. And from the beginning, Santorum has stood for unwavering social conservatism, especially on the issue of abortion.

"Give the baby a chance to live," said Santorum while delivering a speech on the Senate floor in 1997.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Will The New Year Be A New Start For Congress?

According to Gallup, Congress has never been more disliked in all the years it has been polling that question. Can it get any worse heading into the new year?

Politics
2:26 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Why Tea Party Freshmen Caved On Payroll Tax Deal

US Representatives walk down the House steps to leave for the Christmas holiday on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS EPA /Landov

Conservative Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers spent weeks vowing to oppose the short-term compromise bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance.

But in the end, the bill glided through the House, just before Christmas.

The final moments of this latest congressional showdown were fascinating not because of what happened but because of what didn't happen.

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Newt Gingrich
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

On The Hill, Gingrich Made Friends And Enemies

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 1:59 am

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is new to his front-runner status, but he's hardly new to Washington.

He has spent decades weaving relationships in and around government — starting with his successful campaign to win the House majority back in the early 1990s. Some of his most ardent supporters now worked with him back then — but some of his angriest opponents did, too.

'He's A Quality Guy'

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Politics
2:00 am
Tue November 22, 2011

Did Bush Tax Cuts Foreshadow Supercommitte's Failure?

Lawmakers have spent much of this year struggling to reach a deal that could get budget deficits under control. But the problem has been developing for at least a decade.

Young voters might not be familiar with the government of the year 2000 — at least not by its balance sheet. The economy: booming. Tax revenue: rolling in. Expenses for war: none. And to top it off, there was a $200 billion surplus.

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Economy
3:36 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

Silence Of Super(secret)committee May Be Progress

The debt reduction supercommittee had its first public meeting three weeks ago. The committee has been largely silent since then and this may be a sign of progress.

J. Scott Applewhite AP

On Capitol Hill, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has been very quiet. Also known as the supercommittee, it was created by Congress this summer and is tasked with finding at least 1.2 trillion dollars in cuts over the coming decade. But, so far, its members are keeping their ideas for doing that on the down-low — and that may be a good sign.

It's been weeks since the committee had an open hearing. In fact, it's only had three meetings total — the first of which was to set up its rules.

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Law
10:58 pm
Sat October 8, 2011

A Matter Of Interpretation: Justices Open Up

Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer (left) and Antonin Scalia testify during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The justices showed that while they are legal opposites, they are by no means opponents.

Alex Wong Getty Images

In a rare moment, two Supreme Court justices appeared before a Senate committee on Wednesday for a hearing about the role of judges under the U.S. Constitution. Among the topics of discussion was the granddaddy of all legal debates: how to interpret the Constitution.

Justice Antonin Scalia is a staunch conservative, what he calls an "originalist." He believes judges should determine the framers' original intent in the words of the constitution, and hew strictly to it.

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Politics
1:02 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Consumer Protection Iffy, Despite Nominee Approval

Richard Cordray was approved by the Senate Banking Committee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But Senate Republicans have vowed to filibuster nominees if there aren't changes to the agency.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama said Thursday that Bank of America and other financial institutions are using new consumer protections as an excuse to charge new fees.

"I mean, basically the argument they've made is, 'Well, you know what, this hidden fee was prohibited, and so we'll find another hidden fee to make up for it,' " he said at a news conference.

What could help consumers? The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Obama says. The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved his nominee to head the new consumer advocacy agency.

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Politics
2:40 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

It Took Only 5 Minutes? House Votes To Stay Funded

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), pictured here on Tuesday, was one of a few House members present Thursday to vote to keep the government funded till next week. "Once you get to yes, things can move quickly," he says.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 5:13 pm

The House or Representatives met for exactly 5 minutes and 2 seconds Thursday and — in less time than you can eat lunch — passed a spending bill that will keep the government up and running.

That is, for a few days, anyway.

How It Happened

At 11 a.m., an officer of the sergeant at arms threw open the doors of the House of Representatives to carry in the 4-foot ceremonial mace with the golden eagle on top.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) was in the chair and called on the House chaplain to give the prayer.

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Economy
3:54 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

A Potential Super Hero For The Supercommittee

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testifies before the supercommittee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 13.
J. Scott Applewhite ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tuesday's hearing in the supercommittee was supposed to be about the history of the current debt crisis. Almost nothing causes more partisan bickering than that. Each party is fervent in its belief about who drove the government into the ditch — namely, the other guys.

On Tuesday, however, Doug Elmendorf, the man who runs the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), immediately dispensed with the question of blame and laid out the options for the supercommittee.

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Election 2012
10:01 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

In GOP Presidential Field, Science Finds Skeptics

A sow polar bear rests with her cubs on pack ice in the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska, in an undated photo.
Steve Amstrup U.S Fish and Wild Life Service/AP

Republican presidential hopefuls gather Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in California for perhaps the first critical debate of the primary election season.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has publicly doubted the science of climate change and says creationism should be taught alongside evolution, is the new front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. He's not alone in these views. If the topic of science comes up during the debate, the views of all of the GOP presidential candidates will be on display before a national audience.

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Politics
10:01 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Debt Downgrade: A Spark For Political Compromise?

In the wake of the U.S. debt downgrade, the markets have been volatile, but the political fallout has been less clear so far. With Congress on its August recess, party leaders are lying low while they gather their rank-and-file and make plans for what's next.

When Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's credit rating, it was clear about why: Its statement said it "reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges."

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