Federal Relations

This Week in Congress

Today the Senate reconvenes at 2 p.m. and is in a period of morning business until 6 p.m. No votes are expected. In the other chamber, the House reconvenes at 2 p.m. for legislative business and is expected to begin consideration of a number of bills, including HR 5016, which would make appropriations for financial

Congress Back for 4-Week Summer Session

Democrats and Republicans are returning to the Capitol today after a weeklong break to celebrate the Fourth of July. But they appear to be more focused on the midterm elections rather than on moving legislation. Hopes have dimmed that Congress will get much done this year since they only have 29 legislative days left in

Student Loan Interest Rates Rise

Annual student loan interest rates increase tomorrow, July 1st. This represents the first full year loan rates will be tied to the 10-year Treasury note under the deal struck by Congress last summer. Rates will rise from 3.86 to 4.66 percent for undergraduate Stafford loans, 5.41 to 6.21 percent for graduate Stafford loans and 6.41

The Week Ahead

Both the House and Senate are in recess for the 4th of July. The Senate will return July 7th and the House will return July 8th.

House Ed and Workforce Introduce Multiple HEA-focused Bills

Today, the House Education and Workforce introduced several bills to reauthorize the HEA. Earlier this year, the House announced it would take a piecemeal approach to reauthorization rather than a single, large bill. The committee reiterated this strategy and outlined a number of principles that will guide its HEA reauthorization process in its white paper released earlier

Senate HELP Considers Campus Sexual Assault

Today, the Senate Committee on Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on campus sexual assault. The hearing had robust participation by Chairman Harkin (D-IA) and the full committee, including Senator Murray.    To view the hearing, click here.  

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

FY 2015 Appropriations Update

The Senate’s inability to reach an amendment deal on a three-bill “minibus” could dash hopes for remaining FY 2015 spending bills. Though some Senate Republicans and Democrats say they want to find a way forward to debate fiscal 2015 spending bills, it’s not clear whether they can overcome the substantial distrust that scuttled this week’s

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

FY15 Appropriations Update

The unexpected primary election loss by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) could have repercussions on the FY15 appropriations process. Cantor will step down as Leader on July 31st and then serve the remainder of his term. The GOP will hold elections next week to determine who will succeed Cantor as Majority Leader, and that

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