Things Heat Up in Congress

Congress returns to work this week under a heat advisory for our fist long stretch of very hot and humid weather in DC. Today is predicted to see 94 degrees in the nation’s capitol, but it will feel more like 101 according to weather.com. And today will likely be the coolest day of the week!… Read More


July Federal Update

FY14 APPROPRIATIONS The path to enacting FY14 appropriations measures is paved with legislative friction as Congress is showing no signs of undoing the sequester and the House and Senate chambers are working on vastly different overall budget numbers. At this point, there are three budgets — House, Senate, and White House — all of which… Read More


Student Loans: Cloture Vote Fails but Senate Makes Possible Deal

The Senate failed to invoke cloture and move forward S 1238, the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, which is a measure that would keep the Stafford subsidized interest rate at 3.4 percent for another year. The vote was 51-49 and 60 votes are needed to invoke cloture, which would end debate on the measure. However, later… Read More


Senate to Try and Pass Student Loan Interest Bill (again)

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a cloture vote on S. 1238, the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, which is a measure that would keep the Stafford subsidized interest rate at 3.4 percent for another year. Over 43 Democratic Senators has sponsored the legislation including Senators Murray and Cantwell. The vote is a cloture… Read More


Senate Proposes Increase for NIH

Earlier today the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee approved by voice vote an FY14 bill that provides $164.33 billion in discretionary funding for programs under its jurisdiction, $7.8 billion higher than FY13 and above the budget caps established in the Budget Control Act.  No amendments were offered during the subcommittee… Read More


Sequester: DoD to Start Civilian Furloughs

Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) will begin implementing civilian furloughs to 650,000 civilian employees at installations across the country. The furloughs amount to a 20 percent cut in pay over the next three months. This means most furloughed employees face one day without pay for each week through the end of September. Initially, the Pentagon… Read More


Congress Back to Work this Week

Congress returns today after a weeklong recess period to begin a four-week work schedule leading into the August recess. The next four weeks will focus largely on FY14 spending bills. But this week the Senate Democrats will certainly attempt to reverse an interest rate hike on federal student loans that kicked in July 1st and… Read More


Senate Passes Immigration Reform

A short time ago, the US Senate approved sweeping immigration legislation. By a vote of 68 to 32, the Senate approved and concluded a month-long debate of a measure which was nearly 1,200 pages. To note the historic significance of the vote, Vice President Biden presided over the vote and Senators voted from their desks, which is… Read More


Student Loan Deal Unlikely

Today, Senate Leader Harry Reid admitted that a deal to keep student loan interest rates from doubling to 6.8% before July 1st is unlikely. Several Senators continue to work to produce a last minute deal, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) who has been working with Senator Angus King (I-ME), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, and… Read More


President Unveils Climate Change Agenda

President Barack Obama will unveil his climate change agenda during a speech around 2 p.m. Eastern this afternoon. The agenda is expected to combine both Executive Orders and a call to Congress to enact legislation. The new climate initiative will impose deadlines for EPA to write rules throttling carbon dioxide emissions at U.S. power plants, part… Read More