National Journal Online

Good Cop, Bad Cop on College Costs

President Obama isn't too pleased that the cost of college has escalated at four times the rate of inflation over the last 20 years, but there is little he can do to actually lower tuitions. Obama's White House meeting with university presidents last week showed that he will need to rely on peer pressure aimed at his higher-education buddies to push for cheaper college options.

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 10:40am

Transit Benefits on the Line

New Year's Eve could be a bad day for the Obama administration if Congress doesn't act to extend the payroll tax cut. But while that fight dominates year-end conversations on Capitol Hill, lawmakers have paid scant attention to another worker benefit that also is set to expire Dec. 31--the mass transit commuter benefit. Without congressional action, the $230 that transit commuters are now allowed to shield from taxation every month will be reduced to $120 per month.

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 10:40am

Lawmakers Confident of Ending Payroll Tax Impasse

With Congress poised to leave a chunk of coal in the Christmas stockings of 160 million U.S. taxpayers, there are signs that the impasse over extending the current payroll-tax rate one year may be broken. Before a deal can be reached, however, both sides still feel the need to posture on behalf of their favored solution for extending a tax break that put an average of $1,000 into the pocket of each American family last year.

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 8:40am

Gallup Poll: Another New Low for Congress

A substantial majority of Americans rate the honesty and ethical standards of members of Congress as either "low" or "very low" in a new Gallup poll released on Monday, rating members lower than telemarketers, lobbyists and car salesman, and tying a record for Gallup's honesty and ethics poll for any profession.

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 8:40am

Climate Deal Seen As Possible Turning Point

The global climate-change deal reached in Durban, South Africa, over the weekend could help break a longstanding impasse on climate policy in Washington in the coming years.

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 8:40am

Spending Showdown: What's At Stake?

What's at stake for EPA, clean-energy initiatives, and other energy issues like the Keystone XL pipeline during this week's spending debate?

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 8:40am

This Year's Top Lobbyists

Breaux and Gephardt. Gerard and Maloney. Berman and Podesta. According to First Street, these were among the most powerful lobbyists in Washington this year.

Using the amount their firms were paid, the number and diversity of clients and the number of Fortune 100 clients they represented, First Street compiled lists of the top lobbyists in town, divided among former members of Congress, former staffers and professional lobbyists.

The former lawmakers are:

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 6:40am

Romney Returns to New Hampshire After a Humbling Trip to Iowa

MANCHESTER, N.H.—After a humbling few days in Iowa, Mitt Romney on Sunday returned to his comfort zone in New Hampshire, where he has a home—and a lead.

Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 12:40am

Comeback for Romney? He'll Need Help

Two early state polls released Sunday underscore how desperately Mitt Romney needs a Republican ally in his fight against Newt Gingrich.The NBC News-Marist polls report Romney faces a steep deficit against Gingrich in South Carolina and Florida, the third and fourth states on the GOP primary calendar respectively. In South Carolina, he trails 41 to 21 percent among likely voters, the poll finds; in Florida, he's behind 42 percent to 27 percent among likely voters.

Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 10:40pm

Obama: 'It Doesn't Really Matter' Who GOP Nominates

Defiantly proclaiming “it doesn’t really matter” who the Republicans nominate against him, President Obama declared that he is ready to take on either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney and ask voters to contrast his vision with that offered by the GOP nominee. In an at-times feisty interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the president suggested there is little difference between the two front-runners for the nomination.

Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 8:40pm