National Journal Online

Where Is Congress With Appropriations?

Almost three months into the fiscal year, Congress is on track this week to finalize funding for federal agencies and programs for the year. They are a little behind, but it's not unusual. Most years are like this.

The first graphic below shows what stage each chamber has reached in the 12 major appropriations areas. Note that some bills were considered together as a package, but are separated out here. Also, some bills that were introduced at the subcommittee level aren't the same ones that were passed on the House and Senate floors or agreed to in conference.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 3:40pm

House Approves $915 Billion Spending Plan

The House voted 296-121 Friday to pass a $915-billion spending package to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, likely staving off a threatened midnight government shutdown.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 3:40pm

The Congress Mess and the Presidential

This would not be a good year to be running as Bob Dole or even Barack Obama '08. If you were a sitting member of Congress and your party's nominee, how on earth would you explain the mess at the Capitol--the constant "Perils of Pauline" near catastrophes with shutting down the government, blowing the debt ceiling, and hiking the Payroll Tax. The major contenders for president--Romney, Gingrich, Obama, Perry--don't have to apologize for Congress. Bachmann and Paul are such outliers that no one is going to blame them for the machinations of John Boehner.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 3:40pm

Republican Presidential Debate Highlights -- VIDEO

Read More

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm

PICTURES: Photo of the Day

Read More

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm

A Debate Season for the History Books

Elections have consequences. The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day. It all comes down to turnout.

To this list of these election-year clichés, add this: Debates matter.

“Frankly, they saved some candidates … and totally destroyed others,’’ said Warren Tompkins, a Republican consultant in South Carolina who advised Mitt Romney in 2008. “The debates have driven the process. They have been the process.’’

Read More

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm

Can Newt Inc. Serve High Tea?

I've got a piece in this week's National Journal magazine exploring how Gingrich made millions playing a Washington influence game detested by the Tea Party. 
I write for subscribers

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm

Top 22 Political Quotes of 2011 -- PICTURES

Read More

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm

Obama Got Us Out Of Iraq. Voters Say.. So What?

The leitmotif of Sen. Barack Obama's early presidential campaign was the inherent wrongness of the war in Iraq and how it represented to him the protuberant ineptitude of the Bush Administration and the Washington establishment that enabled it.  Obama liked to say that his speech against the Iraq war in Chicago, October 2002, was a brave stand at the time.  True, it ran contrary to the "strong" Democratic position held by party leadership.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm

QUICK TAKE: Votes on Omnibus Coming but Payroll Uncertain

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on Friday that the House would vote on the omnibus spending package Friday to fund the government in order to avert a shutdown and then go home until negotiations over the payroll-tax break are settled.

“The House will do its work today, the members will go home, and if there’s a need to come back to finish our work, we will do so,” Boehner said in a news conference following a closed-door Republican Caucus meeting.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:40pm