Federal Relations

June 9, 2014

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

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

May 29, 2014

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

May 22, 2014

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

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

May 19, 2014

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

Congress: Issues to Watch this Week

The House is back in session this week after a weeklong recess period. They will be in session for two weeks before taking another break during the first week in June. The Senate is in this week, but will recess during the week of Memorial Day. Appropriations:  Appropriators appear to be adhering to their plans

May 9, 2014

Larsen Introduces Bill to Protect Bereaved Student Borrowers

Today, Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced the Bereaved Student Borrowers Act. The bill  is designed to protect grieving students and students facing family hardship from auto-defaulting on their private student loans and to get better access to information about cosigner release requirements. The bill also prohibits lenders from reporting an auto-default as a result of cosigner

April 1, 2014

Ryan Reveals House FY15 Budget

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the House FY15 Budget today. The measure proposes to cut $5.1 trillion over a decade in a bid to erase the federal deficit, while calling once again for dramatic changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and the tax code. The House proposal would significantly reduce federal support for college access. The Ryan

February 12, 2014

Senate Passes House Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling

With an impending snow storm as a powerful motivator, the Senate passed the House’s bill to suspend the debt ceiling until March 15, 2015 by a vote of 55-42. Earlier this week, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas vowed to filibuster the measure since the House Republicans “caved to President Obama” and were unable extract to

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