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 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 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

June 18, 2013

Senate Reports Student Loan Progress

Senate Democrats, Republicans and the White House are reporting progress in negotiations to a student loan interest rate fix. A group of Democratic senators, including Jack Reed RI), Joe Manchin III (WV), and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with independent Angus King (ME), have been conferring with Senate Republicans over the past 24 hours. The plan, which is broadly based on the president’s budget

June 17, 2013

Federal Update

Congress has just two weeks before the July 4th recess week to tackle several major legislative issues. This week, the House will try to pass a five-year farm bill that contains controversial dairy policies and cuts to food stamps. It will also revive the abortion debate over a bill to ban certain abortions. In the

June 14, 2013

House Tries to Force Vote on Student Loans

House Democrats are attempting to force a floor vote on a two-year extension of the current interest rate for federally subsidized student loans and avert a scheduled doubling of the rate on July 1, 2013. They hope to file a discharge petition if they get the support of a majority of members. This would force

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