Federal Relations

July 30, 2014

House Passes VA Conference Report

The conference report to accompany H.R. 3230 (reported earlier on the Federal Affairs Blog) was adopted by the House – 420 Yeas, 5 Nays. The Senate is expected to pass it later this week.

House Considers VA Conference Report

Both the House and Senate intend to bring to the floor this week a conference agreement to reform the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and increase transparency and services in the Department of Veterans Administration (VA). The House will be the first to consider, what has been a delicate and sometimes contentious agreement to create, the conference

July 23, 2014

Senate to Introduce COMPETES Reauthorization This Week

We expect Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) will introduce the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 later this week. A discussion draft of this five-year reauthorization bill has been circulated and many provisions in the bill are reminiscent of the COMPETES Acts of 2007 and 2010.

June 26, 2014

House Ed and Workforce Introduce Multiple HEA-focused Bills

Today, the House Education and Workforce introduced several bills to reauthorize the HEA. Earlier this year, the House announced it would take a piecemeal approach to reauthorization rather than a single, large bill. The committee reiterated this strategy and outlined a number of principles that will guide its HEA reauthorization process in its white paper released earlier

June 25, 2014

Higher Ed Legislation Advances

Today Senate HELP Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) will introduce his plan to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The Higher Education Affordability Act focuses on four goals: Increasing college affordability, helping struggling borrowers, strengthening accountability, and improving transparency. These goals will be achieved through 21 action points, including tightening for-profit regulations, better accountability metrics for colleges

June 20, 2014

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

June 11, 2014

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.

June 9, 2014

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

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.

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

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