Federal Relations

On the Hill


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 19, 2014

FY 2015 Appropriations Process in Question

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) effectively ended debate for now on the FY 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations after he was unable to reach an agreement with Republicans over amendments. The CJS bill funds NSF, Census, NIJ and other agencies. The CJS bill, which was being considered as part of…


June 5, 2014

Senate Confirms Burwell

Today, the Senate voted 78-17 to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as secretary of Health and Human Services. Burwell replaces Kathleen Sebelius, who stepped down earlier this year. 


May 30, 2014

House Passes CJS, Senate Considers Its Version Next Week

The House passed the FY15 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill after 1 am this morning. The measure passed by a vote of 321-87. This legislation provides a 3.3% increase for NSF funding over FY14 levels. It also provides ample funding for science programs at NASA.  Earlier in the evening, the House considered an amendment by Rep….


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 28, 2014

Welcome Back Congress!

Members of Congress return to Washington, DC today after a two-week recess period. Today marks a nine-week work period where at least one chamber will be in session. But the House will recess again in two weeks, the Senate will take off all of Memorial Day week, and the House will take another recess the…


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…


February 11, 2014

House Passes Clean Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling

With a vote of 221-201 , the House voted to suspend the debt limit for one year without requiring any offsets. Earlier this week, the House had floated the idea of adding military COLA pay to the measure, but ultimately that proposal and other additions were squashed. The measure narrowly passed and only passed with the help…


January 29, 2014

Senate HELP Committee Approves Cordova for NSF

The Senate HELP Committee met in an Executive Session today and approved several Presidential nominations including Dr. Frances Cordova to be the Director of NSF. The HELP Committee approved Dr. Cordova’s nomination last year (December 18, 2013).  With a new year, the Committee must approve her nomination once again.  From here, Dr. Cordova’s nomination will…


January 28, 2014

SOTU Tonight

Tonight President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT. He is expected to talk about a package of largely recycled proposals that would, among other things, raise the minimum wage, overhaul immigration laws, and authorize new infrastructure spending. He’ll also use the State…



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