Federal Relations

June 6, 2013

Today in Congress: Student Loan Bills

The Senate is in at 9:00am and will hold three procedural votes on the farm bill and two rival bills to keep interest rates low for student loans. It’s not certain either can clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. The Republican-led House already has taken action on loans – and drawn a veto threat from Obama. Interest rates on new subsidized Stafford loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent if Congress doesn’t act by July 1, but talks between Democrats and Republicans have largely broken down.

The House is also in at 9:00am, with votes expected between 11:00am and 1:00pm on the Homeland Security Appropriations Act. The White House has threatened a veto, stating Congress shouldn’t consider spending bills until the House and Senate agree on an overall budget framework.

Later this afternoon, Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) casket will arrive at the East Senate Steps of the Capitol. A Color Guard ceremony will be held, and then Lautenberg will lie in repose on the Lincoln catafalque in the well of the Senate. Senators and staffers will get a chance to pay their respects. Reporters will have access to the press gallery of the Senate Chamber, and members of the public will have an opportunity to pay respects from the gallery.