Federal Relations

March 24, 2010

President Signs Historic Health Insurance Overhaul Into Law

**UPDATE: The Federal Report, provided on the right-side user bar of this website, provides greater coverage of the health insurance and student aid legislation. After more than a year of debate, on Sunday March 21st, the  House of Representatives voted 219-212 to approve the Senate’s health insurance reform package, which passed that body in December.  Additionally,

March 18, 2010

Health Insurance/Student Aid Reconciliation Package Released

Shortly after receipt of a Cognressional Budget Office (CBO) score that found that the health insurance and student aid overhauls would reduce the deficit by roughly $138 billion over the next years ($1.2 trillion over the next 10 years), the Democratic leadership in Congress posted the details of the bill on-line -as they had promised

March 4, 2010

Health Insurance and Student Aid Overhauls Likely Headed for Reconciliation

Yesterday, during a speech at the White House, President Obama called on Congress to give health care reform an up or down vote before the Easter congressional recess -beginning March 29th. The message seemed to make clear that the President, along with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, intend to pursue passage of health insurance reform

February 2, 2010

FY11 Budget Overview

Despite an overall spending freeze proposal from the Obama administration, the student aid and research priorities of the higher education community faired relatively well in the President’s Budget Request for FY11. Within the Department of Education, the PBR seeks to increase the maximum Pell grant to $5,710 in FY11 from the current $5,550 level. More importantly,

January 27, 2010

Additional Glimpses Into Obama Budget Request

Despite President Obama’s plan to call for a three year freeze of domestic discretionary spending, K-12 and certain higher education student aid/support services grant programs stand to receive significant increases in the FY11 budget process -according to administration officials. As mentioned in yesterday’s (1/26) post, certain federal programs may be cut, consolidated, or eliminated to achieve

December 18, 2009

Secretary of Educations Pens Op-Ed on Student Loan Overhaul

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal, published an op-ed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In the piece, Secretary Duncan makes the case that banks don’t belong in the federal student loan business and that the subsidies they currently receive through Federal Family Education Loan program would be better spent on student aid. The Senate

December 17, 2009

House Passes Jobs Bill with Higher Ed. Provisions

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a jobs package (H.R. 2847 -Jobs for Mainstreet Act of 2010) that provides $75 billion of unspent funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) for assistance to states and local governments in avoiding government layoffs and supporting infrastructure repair and modernization.  Of note to the higher education community

December 10, 2009

Future of Tax Extenders Legislation Remains Unclear

Despite House passage of the Tax Extenders Act of 2009 (H.R. 4213), it appears possible that tax provisions important to the higher education community may expire at the end of the month. The provisions include the education tuition deduction, the IRA charitable rollover, and the research and development tax credit. Disagreements in the Senate over

November 18, 2009

Timeline Slipping for Major Legislation

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) announced this week that a climate bill will not likely emerge before the spring of 2010. The announcement confirms that at least 1 of 3 (and likely all 3) of President Obama’s top legislative initiatives for 2009 will slip into 2010 -the other two being health care and

October 14, 2009

Health Reform Legislation Passes Finance and Delays Student Aid Reform

Yesterday, 10/13/09, the Senate Finance Committee approved a health reform package on a largely party-line vote of 14-9, with only Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) crossing the partisan divide. The vote in Senate Finance was the last of the five House/Senate committee (3 House committees, 2 Senate Committees) votes before consideration by the chambers.  Leadership and

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