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Without Dealmakers, Can Congress Compromise?

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, a seasoned dealmaker in the Senate, announced his intention to step down from a key leadership role this week. It has prompted a question going around Washington: Are the best deal-brokers giving up?

In Upset, Herman Cain Comes Out On Top Of Florida Straw Poll

The former Godfather's Pizza CEO easily beat Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. It's a big victory for Cain, who up until now has not gotten a lot of attention in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, in large part because of his standing in the polls.

Fla. Straw Poll Generates Heat, Not So Much Light

It decides nothing, and may be totally meaningless, but like many other political events, the Florida straw poll gets a lot of attention from candidates and the media. This year, the poll is expected to draw 3,500 party activists to take part in Orlando, where NPR's Greg Allen reports from the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Government Shutdown Threatens Again

The once-rare possibility of a federal government shutdown reared its head again this week. This time it was over House Republicans' desire to pay for disaster relief costs with money for other, unrelated projects. NPR's David Welna explains the Capitol Hill machinations ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

Defense Leaders Make The Case Against Budget Cuts

Military leaders are promoting their branch's respective strengths in hopes of softening the super committee's blow, while private industry executives have warned against losing the country's industrial base.

The New Standoff: Clean-Car Jobs Vs. Disaster Relief

The House's stopgap spending bill, rejected by the Senate on Friday, takes money from a federal clean cars program to offset spending for disaster aid. Some Republicans see the move as a matter of prioritization, but opponents say it would put American manufacturing jobs at risk.

Week In Politics: Jobs Bill; Spending Bill; GOP Presidential Race

Michele Norris speaks with our regular political commentators E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times.