National Journal Online

Senate Passes Bill to Fund Government Through Sept. 30

The Senate passed a nine-month fiscal 2012 spending bill Saturday, 67-32, eliminating the risk of government shutdowns until next fall.

The vote came on a conference report of an omnibus spending package. Democrats this week held up a deal on the measure while negotiating over a payroll-tax holiday for workers and other year-end measures. The Senate considers a two-month extension of those measures on Saturday as well.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 1:40pm

Senate Passes Two-Month Payroll, UI Extension

The Senate on Saturday passed a two-month extension of a payroll-tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and the "doc fix" to keep Medicare physicians from a pay cut next year, setting up another fight over the tax and benefits package in 2012.

The legislation passed 89 to 10. The House is expected to take up the measure Monday, and despite some Republican opposition in that chamber, it is likely to pass. The Senate considers a spending bill on Saturday that funds the government for the rest of the 2012 fiscal year. The fiscal year began Oct 1.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 11:40am

Washington Week Round Table: Congress Fights to Avert a Government Shutdown

Congress fights the clock to avert a government shutdown. Also, now that the last GOP presidential debate before the Iowa caucus is over, who is the frontrunner? Plus, the war in Iraq officially ends as the U.S. hands over military control to Iraqis. Joining Gwen: Jeanne Cummings, Bloomberg News; Dan Balz, The Washington Post; Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times; Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 10:40am

What Do Drones of the Future Look Like? Pentagon Crowd-Sources Next UAV -- VIDEO

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Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 8:40am

Can Nikki Haley Help Romney Win South Carolina?

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Mitt Romney gives the ex-Bay State governor a crucial tea party imprimatur in a state that holds a critical Jan. 21 presidential primary. But Haley’s endorsement might be even more helpful by solidifying the perception that Romney's campaign is on the rebound after a downturn.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 8:40am

Romney Hopes S.C. Governor's Backing Helps Him Gain Ground

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Despite Newt Gingrich’s commanding lead over Mitt Romney in the Palmetto State, Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday she endorsed Romney in part because he’s “the one person President Obama go after, over and over” – evidence, she said, of how seriously the White House takes his presidential candidacy.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 11:40pm

Deal Struck on Short-Term Payroll-Tax Cut Package

The Senate will approve a two-month extension of a payroll-tax holiday for workers Saturday after talks of a longer extension collapsed Friday night.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 9:40pm

Perry Defends Retiring Early to Claim Pension

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday defended a decision to begin collecting his pension early in addition to drawing a $150,000 salary as governor as nothing “out of the ordinary” since they are funds he accrued through his military and public service.

“I think it would be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned,” Perry told reporters at a media gathering in Cherokee, Iowa.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 9:40pm

Progress Toward Payroll Extension, Keystone Deal

Senate Democrats on Friday were finalizing a bill that would extend a reduced employee tax rate for 11 months. The measure will extend federal unemployment benefits and include a one-year “doc fix” preventing Medicare physicians from facing a pay cut, Senate leadership aides said.

Democrats expect Senate Republicans, who were meeting Friday evening, to accept the proposal, allowing Senate passage of the measure Saturday afternoon, along with expected approval of a fiscal 2012 omnibus spending bill.

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 7:40pm

Bachmann Keeps Up Attacks on Gingrich

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -– Rep. Michele Bachmann, seeking to gain traction from her performance in Thursday’s GOP debate, on Friday kept up her criticisms of GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich while expressing frustration at his accusations that she is factually challenged.   

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 - 7:40pm