House Passes Black-Davis Student and Family Tax Simplification Act

The House passed H.R. 3393, the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act (Black-Davis), by a vote of 227-187 yesterday. The bill combines four education tax benefits into a new, permanent American Opportunity Tax Credit. The higher education community has raised concerns about how the bill impacts nontraditional and graduate students. These concerns were echoed in… Read More


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… Read More


The Week Ahead

This week lawmakers continue to debate FY2015 appropriations, student loans, and VA reform. Tonight, the House will vote on S. 1254, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013. The bill would authorize $20.5 million annually through 2018 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reduce the effects of… Read More


First Two FY 2015 Bills to Advance

The first two FY 2015 bills are set to move through the House Appropriations subcommittees today: Military Construction-VA and Legislative Branch. The Military Construction-VA bill proposes $71.5 billion in discretionary spending for the VA and the military construction accounts of the Defense Department, a decrease of $1.8 billion from the FY 2014 enacted level, with… Read More


FY2015 Appropriations Season Underway

House and Senate appropriators will begin their FY2015 work this week with the goal of moving all 12  annual spending bills through the legislative process before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. House and Senate appropriators are holding a trio of hearings this week ahead of next Tuesday’s White House budget release… Read More


This Week in Congress

The Senate resumes its gun control debate this week, beginning today with the most substantive and contentious issue: a bipartisan proposal to require background checks of gun purchasers in commercial and Internet sales. It’s the start of deliberations that could keep that chamber busy until the Memorial Day recess. We also expect to see an… Read More


Summary of President’s FY14 Budget Request

Yesterday, President Obama released his FY14 budget request — nearly two months later than required by law. Much of the delay was blamed on the sequester and the prolonged FY13 appropriations process that resulted in a year-long continuing resolution (CR). In a typical year, the President’s Budget Request (PBR) kicks off the annual appropriations season,… Read More


FY14 Budget Release Today

President Obama will release his FY14 budget request today. Early reports indicate that the budget will focus on “education and infrastructure” issues, propose new taxes on the wealthy, and reduce the costs of Social Security and Medicare. We will report more details after the release.


Senate Approves Budget, Begins Two-Week Recess

Early this morning, the Senate passed its first budget in four years by a vote of 50 to 49 after a marathon session that began Friday morning and included 562 filed amendments. The Senate approved a budget resolution that relies heavily on $975 billion in new tax revenue to stabilize the growth of the national… Read More


Sequestration: The Bottom Line

While it may seem that the White House has been more focused gun control and immigration over the past several weeks, President Obama is expected to make the economy his central theme and renew his call to avoid sequestration when he delivers his State of the Union tonight. There are just 17 days until the… Read More