Federal Relations

July 12, 2013

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

July 11, 2013

Student Loans: Cloture Vote Fails but Senate Makes Possible Deal

The Senate failed to invoke cloture and move forward 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. The vote was 51-49 and 60 votes are needed to invoke cloture, which would end debate on the measure. However, later

July 10, 2013

If at first you don’t succeed, the House will try and pass the Farm Bill (again)

The proverb is clearly something the House lives by. To demonstrate, the House Republican Leadership will attempt to pass the Farm Bill again this week after a disastrous attempt and failure prior to the Fourth of July Recess. The House is expected to consider a modified version of the bill considered in June. This bill

July 9, 2013

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

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

July 8, 2013

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

July 1, 2013

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

June 27, 2013

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

Senate may Vote on Immigration Bill Today

Although the vote is officially scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, some reports are claiming that Senators may try to move the legislation for a vote around 4pm today. Senator Reid announced that Senators will make the vote from their desks – a method usually reserved for votes on historic legislation. Republicans in the House of Representatives

June 26, 2013

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

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