Before adjourning for a two-week recess last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget proposal along party lines. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, outlines the House majority’s funding priorities for the 2013 fiscal year. The legislation paints a much different picture than many expected, and took a sharp turn from last summer’s debt ceiling wrangling. The proposal also could forecast dark days for states.

As Congress edges closer to passing a long-term transportation bill for the first time since 2005, we are starting to get a picture of what the future of America’s roads, bridges and railroads will look like.

In an era where federal gridlock has left states to address many of the most intractable policy challenges, interstate compacts have emerged as a powerful instrument for states to work together to solve common problems.  Since its founding in 1933, CSG has played a leading role in advancing interstate compacts as a force for innovative policies. In support of this mission, CSG has partnered with the National Governors Association in signing onto an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in a case that could profoundly affect the relationship between states and the federal government.

Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill ending the stalemate over the payroll tax cut and assorted entitlement programs, and the Senate quickly followed suit. But the details of the bills paint an interesting picture of the political landscape as we approach the 2012 election cycle, and what may be even more important to states, the Lame Duck session of Congress that will follow it.

The bill passed by Congress would keep the payroll tax rate at 4.2 percent through 2012, instead of springing...

The International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors signed onto an amicus curiae brief filed by the State and Local Legal Center in a U.S. Supreme Court case affecting the ability of state and local government to forgive debt—but not issue refunds—related to a discontinued program.