FY 2015 Appropriations Update

The Senate’s inability to reach an amendment deal on a three-bill “minibus” could dash hopes for remaining FY 2015 spending bills. Though some Senate Republicans and Democrats say they want to find a way forward to debate fiscal 2015 spending bills, it’s not clear whether they can overcome the substantial distrust that scuttled this week’s… Read More


Student Loan Bill Fails in Senate

The Senate failed to invoke cloture this morning and will not move forward on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) bill to refinance student debt. The Senate voted of 56-38, which is less than the 2/3rds required to move forward.


Cloture Filed on Student Loan Bill

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)  filed a cloture motion on proceeding to the student loan bill (S 2432) that would allow borrowers to refinance their old student loans at the current lower interest rates. The cloture vote would occur on Wednesday. Cloture, under the Senate rules, ends debate on the bill and allows for final… Read More


Senate VA Reform Agreement Includes In-State Tuition Provisions

Late last week, Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ) announced a deal to salvage sought-after Veterans Administration reform in the wake of the on-going VA scandal. The legislation would allow for the reform the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand veterans’ access to health care and make it easier to fire VA officials for misconduct…. Read More


Obama Aims to Ease Student Debt

President Obama announced today a new executive order aimed at easing student borrowers’ debt loads by capping repayments at 10 percent of their monthly income. Obama also made student loans the focus of his weekly address on Saturday, saying he’d be taking action this week. The executive order will expand on a 2010 law, the Bipartisan Student… Read More


The Week Ahead

This week lawmakers continue to debate FY2015 appropriations, student loans, and VA reform. Tonight, the House will vote on S. 1254, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013. The bill would authorize $20.5 million annually through 2018 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reduce the effects of… Read More


House Continues CJS, House Science Cmte Passes FIRST

Adjourning well after midnight last night, the House will consider its floor consideration of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill this morning. The House is expected to pass the measure late tonight. Thus far, the House has considered a number of amendments, and some of interest are below. Passed Amendments: An amendment, offered by Mr. Reichert… Read More


House Science Committee Passes FIRST (almost)

In an incredibly partisan and late mark up, the House Science Committee finally finished considering the 27 proposed and debated amendments to the FIRST Act (HR 4186). Given the lengthy and contentious nature of the hearing, the roll call votes and final passage of the measure have been postponed until next week. Therefore, as of… Read More


Patent Reform Legislation Pulled from Agenda

Consideration of comprehensive patent legislation appears to be off the agenda for the year after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy (D-VT) pulled it from his committee’s agenda on Wednesday. He cited frustration with unproductive negotiations as the reason for the turnaround. The measure had been slated for consideration by the committee today but less than… Read More


House Committee to Consider the FIRST Act

On Wednesday, the House Science Committee will mark up HR 4186, the FIRST Act, a bill which will reauthorize NIST, NSF and a host of other federal science-focused programs. This is the 113th Congress’s version of the America COMPETES reauthorization. While in previous Congresses this legislation has been bipartisan and uncontroversial, the FIRST Act has… Read More