Decision Time Nears for Student Loan, Highway Bills

By: Sunday June 24, 2012 7:03 pm

I’ve been tracking the two deadlines for Congress coming up in just over a week. If no action is taken, new federal student loans will see an interest rate of 6.8%, double the current 3.4%. And there will be no surface transportation bill, meaning that highway projects with federal participation will grind to a halt and the 18-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax would go uncollected (heck, at this point, that might be the only stimulus we see this year).

Pittsburgh Commuters to Get New Taste of Wingnut Wonderland

By: Saturday April 28, 2012 12:20 pm

Citizens of the City of Pittsburgh who make a habit of traveling from place to place are about to discover some of the benefits of small government conservatism recently installed in the state capitol. Barring an increase in funding from Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature or Governor, getting around in Pittsburgh will become harder this September.

A lot harder.

Boehner Maneuvers for Conference Committee on Transportation Bill

By: Thursday April 19, 2012 3:30 pm

The House passed yet another extension of the federal surface transportation bill. This one also goes for 90 days and would take the highway trust fund from June 30 to September 30, 2012.

As expected, House Republicans attached some riders to the bill, including one that drew a White House veto threat.

Chris Christie Lied About Costs of Hudson River Tunnel Project He Cancelled

By: Tuesday April 10, 2012 12:30 pm

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie cancelled a tunnel project across the Hudson River in 2010, a decision which made him very popular in conservative circles, claiming that the costs has dramatically increased while the state would be forced to bear most of the risks . It turns out that he had to twist facts to justify this decision.

GOP House Formally Rejects Senate Transportation Bill, Shutdown Looming

By: Thursday March 22, 2012 10:45 am

We’re headed for a real showdown. The House has now rejected the bipartisan transportation bill from the Senate. Harry Reid has said that he would not accept a 90-day extension and wants to see the Senate bill pass. Something has to give.

House Won’t Take Up Senate Surface Transportation Bill Before Expiration Date

By: Friday March 16, 2012 8:28 am

The Senate’s transportation bill, which passed earlier this week, is more bipartisan than good. The bill lasts for two years rather than the 5 years requested by the White House, and it funds at about 2/3 the level in the President’s budget request, which itself is relatively low according to infrastructure experts. That said, it begins to actually intelligently tackle infrastructure policy, albeit with limited means, and it’s certainly preferable to the eight stopgap bills that have been the sum total of Congress’ work on this policy since 2009.

It looks as if we’re moving toward stopgap bill number 9.

House Transportation Bill Draws White House Veto Threat

By: Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:50 am

The White House formally threatened a veto of the House version of a surface transportation bill, opening the question of whether any long-term bill will get signed before March when current funding on roads and bridges expires. Between the terrible House version and the Senate’s, it’s choosing between one with a bunch of disastrous elements, and another which has none of those but which is too small for the task at hand.

Obama Administration Would Tax Dividends at Same Rate as Top Earnings

By: Monday February 13, 2012 11:00 am

The Obama budget is proposing to tax dividends for high-income taxpayers as ordinary income. This is not a change on capital gains, it’s on dividends, the money earned through corporate payouts of profits to shareholders. The capital gains tax rate would rise to 20% from 15% under the Obama proposal, consistent with prior years.

Senate Passes FAA Authorization Bill with Anti-Union Elements

By: Tuesday February 7, 2012 7:45 am

Despite fierce opposition from major transit unions, the Senate yesterday gave final approval to the FAA Authorization bill, a five-year extension that removes uncertainty from the FAA, approves a next-generation air traffic monitoring system and, in Harry Reid’s telling, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. But unions were unhappy about changes to labor law insisted upon by House Republicans, and they expressed betrayal at the hands of Senate Democrats.

More on the Economy in 2012: Making Up the Auto and Home Sales Gap?

By: Monday January 2, 2012 9:30 am

The biggest reason I can find for economic optimism in 2012 is a belief that people will eventually have to buy new cars and form households, so why not this year? That appears to be the animating thought behind Matt Yglesias’ cheery forecast in the new year. But the economic story is a lot more mixed.

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