Pam Fessler

Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty and philanthropy.

In her reporting, Fessler covers homelessness, hunger, and the impact of the recession on the nation's less fortunate. She reports on non-profit groups, how they're trying to address poverty and other social issues, and how they've been affected by the economic downturn. Her poverty reporting was recognized by a 2011 First Place Headliner Award in the human interest category.

Previously, Fessler reported primarily on homeland security, including security at U.S. ports, airlines, and borders. She has also reported on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 Commission investigation, and such issues as Social Security and election reform. Fessler was also one of NPR's White House reporters during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Before becoming a correspondent, Fessler was the acting senior editor on the Washington Desk and oversaw the network's coverage of the impeachment of President Clinton and the 1998 mid-term elections. She was NPR's chief election editor in 1996, and coordinated all network coverage of the presidential, congressional, and state elections. Prior to that role, Fessler was the deputy Washington editor and Midwest National Desk editor.

Before coming to NPR in 1993, she was a senior writer at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Fessler worked at CQ for 13 years as both a reporter and editor, covering tax, budget, and other news. She also worked as a budget specialist at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and was a reporter at The Record newspaper in Hackensack, NJ.

Fessler has a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from Douglass College in New Jersey.

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3:37am

Thu September 27, 2012
Politics

Pa. Voters Battle Bureaucracy Ahead Of ID Law Ruling

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 9:08 am

Beverly Mitchell shows off her new photo ID card outside a Philadelphia DMV office. She decided to get the card in case a Pennsylvania court rules to allow the enactment of a state law that requires voters to show photo ID in order to vote.
Pam Fessler/NPR

The first sign that getting a new ID isn't going to be easy for Beverly Mitchell and Kathleen Herbert comes before the pair have even left their downtown Philadelphia senior center. As they wait for a ride to a nearby Department of Motor Vehicles office, they get the news: The van that was supposed to take them is broken.

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3:29am

Thu September 20, 2012
Election 2012

Voter Purges Under Review Ahead Of Election Day

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 5:14 am

Noncitizens aren't allowed to vote in federal and state elections, but efforts to remove them from the nation's voter registration rolls have produced more angst than results.

Opponents say the scope of the problem has been overblown; those behind the efforts say they've just begun to look at the problem.

'Early Stages'

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5:54pm

Wed September 12, 2012
Economy

Poverty Rate Unchanged, But Still Historically High

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:45 pm

A child waits with a box of food at a mobile food bank in Oswego, N.Y., in June. New census data show that 46.2 million people in the U.S. lived below the poverty line last year.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The U.S. poverty rate last year was unchanged from the year before, according to new figures Wednesday from the Census Bureau. But that still means almost 1 in 6 Americans was poor.

The new data show that 46.2 million people in the U.S. lived below the poverty line — about $23,000 for a family of four. The number of poor was almost exactly the same as it was the year before, but still historically high.

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4:11pm

Mon September 10, 2012
Election 2012

Voting Laws In Several States Remain Unsettled

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 6:26 pm

In South Carolina, Pennsylvania and several other states, new voter ID laws are being challenged in court just eight weeks before the general election.
iStockphoto.com

Eight weeks before the presidential election, new laws passed by Republican legislatures that concern who can vote and when remain in the hands of federal and state judges.

Among the cases: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week will hear an appeal to overturn that state's new voter ID law. An appeal is expected in a case involving early voting in Ohio. And a federal court is still considering whether South Carolina can go ahead with its new voter ID law.

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4:37pm

Wed September 5, 2012
The Salt

Recession Still Hurting U.S. Families Trying To Put Food On The Table

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Jacque Holland, 43, of Milwaukee picks up food at the food pantry at United Methodist Children's Services of Wisconsin.
Carrie Antlfinger AP

The number of U.S. families struggling to put enough food on the table remains at record-high levels, according to new figures out today from the government. Last year, 1 in almost 7 households were what the government calls "food insecure." That's about the same level as in 2010, but still far higher than before the recession.

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3:23am

Fri August 24, 2012
Election 2012

Pre-Election Legal Battles Target Voting Rules

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 11:56 am

Protesters hold signs in Allentown, Pa., om July 25 as the Commonwealth Court holds hearings on voter ID laws.
Stephen Flood Express-Times /Landov

If you vote, you might very well be confused about what the rules will be when you go to cast your ballot this fall. There's been a flood of new laws on things such as voter identification and early voting, and many of them are now being challenged in court.

Some cases could drag on until Nov. 6, Election Day, and beyond. The outcomes will affect voters, and maybe even the results.

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12:46am

Mon August 20, 2012
Around the Nation

Study Reveals The Geography of Charitable Giving

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 1:50 pm

Attorneys Cheryl Curtis and her husband, Dana Foster, live in Washington, D.C., and donate generously to a nearby nonprofit that helps low-income residents. "Now that I have more, I want to give to organizations that provide just basic food for people," Curtis says.
Pam Fessler NPR

Ever wonder how charitable the people are who live in your state or community? It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. And rich people are more generous when they live among those who aren't so rich.

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4:17pm

Wed August 15, 2012
Politics

Judge Won't Block Pa. Voter ID Law

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 6:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. This presidential campaign season features not only battles between candidates, but fights over how the voting process should work. Today in Pennsylvania, a judge refused to block the state's new voter ID law from going into effect before the election. The law requires voters to show identification at the polls.

As we hear from NPR's Pam Fessler, opponents of the law say they will appeal.

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7:28am

Thu July 26, 2012
Election 2012

Obama Talks Jobs, Guns At Urban League Meeting

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:35 am

President Obama was in New Orleans Wednesday to address the National Urban League, a largely African-American crowd and a key constituency for his re-election campaign. Obama spoke of the need to broaden economic opportunity, but he also took the occasion to call for steps to control gun violence in the wake of last week's shootings in Aurora, Colo.

5:28pm

Wed July 25, 2012
Election 2012

Black Business Owners Urge Obama To Aid Growth

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:29 pm

Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama poses with National Urban League President Marc Morial on Aug. 2, 2008.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

President Obama's speech to the National Urban League conference in New Orleans on Wednesday night coincides with a debate over the role of government in helping small businesses succeed.

Some black Americans say they have an especially hard time when it comes to owning and operating their own businesses.

On the northern edge of New Orleans' French Quarter, Shaka Zulu and his wife, Na'imah, are trying desperately to protect a slice of local culture that sometimes gets lost here.

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