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


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


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


Federally Subsidized Student Loan Rates Double Today

Congress adjourned last week for the 4th of July recess without passing legislation to halt the rise of student loan interest rates. That means that today the interest rate on Federally Subsidized student loans doubles from 3.4% to 6.8%. The rate hike is expected to affect 7 million students and will add an average of… 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


Fisher v. University of Texas Ruling

Today, the Supreme Court came out with its ruling on the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin that lower courts did not apply a sufficiently high level of scrutiny to the University of Texas’s use of race in admissions decisions, sending the case back to one of those lower courts to be reconsidered. In… Read More


Senate Reports Student Loan Progress

Senate Democrats, Republicans and the White House are reporting progress in negotiations to a student loan interest rate fix. A group of Democratic senators, including Jack Reed RI), Joe Manchin III (WV), and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with independent Angus King (ME), have been conferring with Senate Republicans over the past 24 hours. The plan, which is broadly based on the president’s budget… Read More


House Proceeds on Farm Bill as White House Threatens Veto

The House will begin consideration of the Farm Bill (HR 1947) today and finish consideration on Thursday. While the House Rules Committee is still determining which amendments will be made in order, 220 amendments have been submitted to the Rules Committee.The House Rules Committee has proceeded with a rare two day consideration of the rule… Read More