Both the House and Senate are in recess this week for the Fourth of July holiday. Late last week, both chambers demonstrated that they can advance legislation by reauthorizing federal highway and transit programs for two years and preventing Stafford student loan interest rate increases. Also last week, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republicans vow to continue to cut or restrict funds to implement the Act, and Democrats encouraged states to move forward on implantation. While some features of the ACA have already been adopted – no denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and adult children can remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26 – the main feature that mandates that all Americans must purchase some form of health coverage takes effect in 2014.
But the BIG news from last week is the major storm that hit the DC area late Friday night. Winds reached 80 MPH with intense thunder and lightning, leaving massive power outages and other storm damage throughout the region – mostly downed trees and power lines. Hundreds of traffic lights are still out and a half-million homes are still without power with outages expected to continue in some areas through the end of the week. This might not be so bad if the temperature wasn’t expected to be in the 90s all week! Federal workers have the option to take unscheduled leave due to this mess, but if I were without power I would make my way into my air conditioned office post haste!
You’ll be happy to know that the dedicated Office of Federal Relations Team made it through the storm unscathed – all our homes had power over the weekend – and we all made our way into the office this morning. Happy Monday!