Scott Horsley | WYPR

Scott Horsley

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.

Horsley spent a decade on the White House beat, covering both the Trump and Obama administrations. Before that, he was a San Diego-based business reporter for NPR, covering fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He also reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before joining NPR in 2001, Horsley worked for NPR Member stations in San Diego and Tampa, as well as 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. He lives in Washington, DC, with his dog, Rosie.

The Trump administration is celebrating a drop in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions last year, even as the president himself continues to challenge the scientific understanding of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency says U.S. production of heat-trapping gases was 2.7 percent lower in 2017 than the previous year. Despite the improvement, independent analysts say the country is likely to fall far short of the pollution controls needed to rein in global warming.

Obamacare — as the Affordable Care Act is commonly known — won't be on the ballot next month. But the fate of the eight-year old health care law could be decided by which party wins control of Congress in November.

"Medicare for All" — the progressive alternative to Obamacare — also stands to gain or lose ground.

And the Trump administration will be looking for a green light to keep making health care changes of its own.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

The federal deficit ballooned to $779 billion in the just-ended fiscal year — a remarkable tide of red ink for a country not mired in recession or war.

The government is expected to borrow more than a trillion dollars in the coming year, in part to make up for tax receipts that have been slashed by GOP tax cuts.

Corporate tax collections fell by 31 percent in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, despite robust corporate profits. That's hardly surprising after lawmakers cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21.

USA Today published an opinion column by President Trump Wednesday in which the president falsely accused Democrats of trying to "eviscerate" Medicare, while defending his own record of protecting health care coverage for seniors and others.

The column — published just weeks ahead of the midterm elections — underscores the political power of health care to energize voters. But it makes a number of unsubstantiated claims.

Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is accusing China of trying to interfere in the U.S. political process in an effort to undermine the president and his agenda in the upcoming midterm elections.

In a speech to the Hudson Institute on Thursday, Vice President Pence amplified the charge leveled by President Trump last week. Pence said China has used covert actors, front groups and propaganda in an attempt to sway U.S. public opinion.

Updated at 1:06 p.m. ET.

President Trump defended his "America First" agenda in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, in effect spiking the football at what his secretary of state described as the "Super Bowl of diplomacy."

The president boasted that he's accomplished more during his time in office than almost any previous administration — a claim that drew immediate laughter from the assembled diplomats and other world leaders.

Trump pressed ahead, undaunted.

"I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK," he said.

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault more than three decades ago, Christine Blasey Ford, will both testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 24. The committee was supposed to vote on the nomination this Thursday but faced pressure after Ford went public with her allegation over the weekend.

Ford and Kavanaugh both agreed to testify under oath before the committee.

The U.S. economy is chugging along. Employers added 201,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate held steady at a low 3.9 percent. Average wages in August were nearly 3 percent higher than they were a year ago.

Who should get the credit for that strong performance?

At a campaign rally in North Dakota last week, President Trump boasted that he's responsible for the economy taking off like a "rocket ship."

But Trump's predecessor wants to remind everyone that the countdown began on his watch.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh weathered another long day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

He was pressed once again for his views on presidential power.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sought a promise from Kavanaugh that he would be willing to serve as a check on the president who nominated him.

Updated at 10:21 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is presenting himself as an open-minded judge who is guided by the law but not indifferent to the effects of his decisions, during a marathon day of confirmation hearings.

"I don't live in a bubble," Kavanaugh told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I base my decisions on the law, but I do so with an awareness of the facts and an awareness of the real-world consequences."

Updated at 5:22 p.m ET

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh opened on a contentious note Tuesday, with Senate Democrats raising noisy objections that much of Kavanaugh's lengthy paper trail is still off limits.

The hearing proceeded despite Democrats' call for delay. Republicans, who control the Senate, hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time to join the high court when its fall term begins next month, cementing a 5-4 conservative majority.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

Friends, family and former political rivals saluted the late Sen. John McCain on Saturday as a loving father, a fierce but forgiving political brawler, and a champion of American values around the world.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

White House counsel Don McGahn is resigning this autumn after a tumultuous stretch as President Trump's in-house lawyer.

Trump announced the departure on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

One likely candidate to replace McGahn is Emmet Flood, who joined the president's legal team in May to focus on the Justice Department's Russia investigation.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday morning that Trump likes McGahn and that they have a "good relationship. There's not really a lot to add here."

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is demanding an explanation of President Trump's decision this week to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan

In a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked for a detailed briefing on the decision and suggested Trump may have failed to follow proper procedures.

The White House was forced to backtrack this week, after wildly misstating the level of job gains by African-Americans under President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

The false claim came during Tuesday's press briefing, which was dominated by questions about Omarosa Manigault Newman. In her new tell-all book and on an accompanying publicity tour, the former reality TV star and presidential assistant has accused Trump of being a racist.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump's campaign arm has filed a complaint with an arbitrator, accusing former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman of violating a 2016 confidentiality agreement with her tell-all book and publicity tour.

In her book, Unhinged, and the accompanying tour, Manigault Newman has been harshly critical of the president, calling Trump a racist and suggesting that he suffers from dementia.

"I will remain on the ballot," declared Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., on Wednesday, just hours after pleading not guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy and lying to investigators.

But Collins could be a drag on the GOP ticket nationally, as Democrats seize on his insider trading case to convince voters to put them in power.

Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was arrested Wednesday on charges related to insider trading.

A federal grand jury accused the Buffalo-area lawmaker of passing nonpublic information about a biotech company to his son, who traded on the information and passed it along to others.

"Congressman Collins cheated our markets and our justice system," said Geoff Berman, the interim U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "He placed his family and friends above the public good."

On a muggy morning this week, a group of bankers and investment managers met at The Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C. They got an update from the Treasury Department about government cash flows and, according to minutes of the meeting, the picture wasn't pretty.

Corporate tax receipts are down for the year, while government spending is up. Even with a fast-growing economy, the Treasury Department expects to borrow more than $750 billion to pay its bills during the last six months of this year.

The Trump administration is considering another big tax cut.

The administration is studying a proposal to cut capital gains taxes, a move that would primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans.

"There's been a great deal of interest in this provision for a long time," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One Tuesday.

Updated at 3:24 p.m ET

President Trump again threatened a government shutdown unless Congress funds his border wall. At a joint news conference at the White House Monday, along with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the president said "If we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States I would have no problem doing a shutdown."

President Trump is in the process of inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to come to Washington, D.C., this fall to continue the talks they started in Helsinki earlier this week.

It's another sign of Trump's efforts to build closer ties with Moscow, even though he insists his administration has taken a hard line toward Russia.

"There's never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

That might sound like hyperbole, but in this case, there's actually some basis for the president's boast.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET.

Former President Barack Obama celebrated Nelson Mandela's life and legacy in South Africa on Tuesday with a speech that focused not only on the freedom Mandela came to symbolize, but the long walk it took to get there.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

President Trump's effort to reset relations with Russia backfired at home after he failed to side with the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. The president's equivocation drew bipartisan condemnation, capping a week in which Trump alienated allies and cozied up to adversaries.

Trump himself declared his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki a success, in what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy."

Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET

In a blow to organized labor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be charged for the cost of collective bargaining.

The vote was a predictable 5-4. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion with the court's conservatives joining him.

In the sharply divided decision over President Trump's travel ban, the Supreme Court repudiated a notorious case from the last century: one that justified the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed to what she called "stark parallels" between the 1944 Korematsu decision and Tuesday's ruling, which upheld Trump administration restrictions on would-be visitors from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

After days of damaging news stories about an administration policy that separated immigrant families at the Southern border, President Trump tried to change the narrative Friday. He spoke up for grieving family members who have lost loved ones at the hands of people in the country illegally.

Veteran diplomats say it could take years to assess the results of this week's nuclear summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump doesn't expect to wait that long.

"I think within the first minute, I'll know," whether Kim is serious about giving up his nuclear weapons, the president told reporters Saturday. "Just my touch. My feel. That's what I do."

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

President Trump said Thursday that his summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week could be "a great success," and held out the possibility of an unprecedented invitation to the White House for Kim if all goes well in Singapore.

For decades, President Trump has presented himself as a master dealmaker.

"I've made a lot of deals," Trump told reporters last month. "I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals."

That was part of the shtick on Trump's long-running TV show, The Apprentice. And it's the subject of his bestselling 1987 book, The Art of the Deal.

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