Federal Relations

Student Loan Bills Fail in Senate

This morning, the Senate took up both S 953, the Reed-Harkin-Reid-Murray two year extension of 3.4% interest rate on student loans and the Senate Republican alternative, S 1003, sponsored by Senators Tom Colburn and Lamar Alexander.  The Senate Republican bill would have tied student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate plus 3

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

September Stalemate on FY14 Appropriations

Members of Congress return to DC this week to take on the farm bill, try to keep student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st, and continue with the FY14 appropriations process. And while immigration reform is still being debated, some are now skeptical that the House and Senate can come get to a

Secretary Duncan advocates long-term student interest rate solution

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, testified before the House Committee on Education and Workforce today. During the hearing, House Chairman Klein specifically asked Secretary Duncan to clarify the Administration’s position on the student loan issue. The Republican attempted to elicit an endorsement from Duncan of their bill, HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act,

FY14 Appropriations Update

Appropriations:  This week, House appropriators are expected to approve a plan for writing FY14 spending bills that would make deep cuts in domestic programs in order to protect defense programs. The overall figure will adhere to the spending caps set by recent budget agreements and assumes the sequester will apply to FY14 without a larger

House GOP Proposes Austere FY14 Appropriations Plan

Late yesterday, the House Republicans released new spending targets for FY14 appropriations bills. Under the GOP numbers, the Labor-HHS-ED bill will face a nearly 20 percent reduction on top of the cuts already made in the March 1st sequestration order. These programs would be capped at $121.8 billion — or about $28 billion below the

Appropriations, Sequestration, and Immigration

The Senate is in session today at 2:00pm but there will be no votes today. The House will be back in session at noon Tuesday. Appropriations: The House GOP plans to begin drafting their FY2014 spending bills to adhere to the roughly $967 billion spending cap set by recent budget law, which also reflects the

Progress on Student Loan Interest Rate Bill

Although both chambers are in recess today, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes legislating and negotiating. House lawmakers plan to release a draft 2013 farm bill that’s expected to produce $38 billion in savings over a decade. Across the Capitol, Senate Democrats are looking for ways to advance President Obama’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency

New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes Funding Announced

As part of President Obama’s manufacturing agenda “National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI),” the Administration today announced that it is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies—Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The Department of Defense will lead two

Senate Begins Mark Up of Immigration Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee is beginning to mark up the immigration bill today in the opening act of what will likely be a long, contentious fight over amendments. The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” (S 744) is the immigration reform proposal developed by the so-called “gang of eight.” Among other things, the

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