Sequester “Line in the Sand” Bills

Senate Democrats are warning that they will not agree to a deal to stop across-the-board spending cuts early next year (sequester) without new revenue gained by ending tax breaks on the wealthiest Americans.  To that end, they circulated a draft bill yesterday that would spare most Americans from higher tax rates that are due to… Read More


This Week in Congress

Both the House and Senate return to Capitol Hill today from their Fourth of July recess and begin the final four week stretch before the August recess. The Senate is in at 2:00pm though no votes are scheduled until tomorrow. The House is also in at 2:00pm with votes expected at 6:30pm, when seven bills… Read More


The Aftermath…

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… Read More


Student Loans and Transportation Research

The House and Senate both will take action today on the conference agreement to HR 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The agreement reauthorizes federal highway, transit, and other surface transportation programs through September 30, 2014, at current funding levels with inflationary increases for certain programs. It consolidates or… Read More


Deal Reached on Student Loans

On Tuesday, Senate leaders announced that they reached a deal to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, but they are still determining whether to attach that “deal” to a measure that would reauthorize highway programs, which is still being negotiated. Congress must take action on both issues –… Read More


Congress Requests Information on Implementation of the Sequester

Today, the House Budget Committee mark up Republican leaders’ legislation, similar to bipartisan language added last week to the Senate farm bill that seeks more information about the automatic budget cuts.  The action comes after several attempts by lawmakers to get more details from the administration about how the roughly $109 billion sequester will take… Read More


Very Big Week in Congress

Today begins a very big week in Congress that could have huge consequences for the remainder of the calendar year.  First, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a ruling that will likely dominate the airwaves this week.  Second, Congress must deal with two critical legislative… Read More


Senate Bill Requires Reports on Impact of Sequestration

Yesterday, the Senate passed a five-year reauthorization of farm legislation (S 3240) that includes a bipartisan amendment requiring detailed reports on the effects of the pending budget sequestration on both defense and nondefense discretionary spending. The amendment would require three reports: one from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the overall budget figures… Read More


Odds and Ends for the Week

Student Loan Interest Rates:  Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are getting close to a deal to prevent student loan rates from doubling on July 1st, from 3.4 percent up to 6.8 percent.  A deal could be announced as soon as today, although early next week seems more likely. The talks have… Read More


Energy Production Legislation Debated

This morning the House will continue debate on the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012 (HR 4480), which seeks to increase domestic oil and gas production and reduce regulation of the energy industry in order to reduce energy prices and boost economic growth. This measure is the result of compiling the text of 7 separate… Read More