Federal Relations

White House Oil Spill Commission Report Released

Yesterday, the commission tasked by President Obama to examine the BP Deepwater Horizon undersea accident of last spring released its findings and recommendations. The commission addressed a range of topics from the need for increased regulation to funding for oil spill research to long-term restoration of the Gulf.  Some of the ideas offered: Create a distinct environmental science office

Pell Grant Cuts on the Table Says Key Senator

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (former Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush) is quoted in today’s Congressional Quarterly as stating that cuts to the Pell Grant program, along with the rest of the domestic discretionary budget, are on the table as Congress now attempts to reduce spending through the FY11 and FY12 appropriations processes. In

Tucson Tragedy Puts Legislative Schedule on Hold

The shooting over the weekend of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others has prompted House leaders to cancel pending action on legislation this week, including their plans to vote on repealing health care reform. Instead, the House will be in session for two days this week but the only business will occur Wednesday when

Fiscal Issues Dominate First Days in Congress

The 112th Congress convened Wednesday amid ceremonial pomp in the House with the election of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Their first order of business was to adopt a rules package for the 112th Congress that is designed to advance Republican priorities to control federal spending, cut the deficit, and makes the chamber more accountable to

112th Congress Convenes Today

The 112th Congress convenes today, reinstating an era of divided government with Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate and White House.  Republicans will have a 242-193 majority in the House, while Senate Democrats and their two independent allies will hold a majority of 53 seats, compared with 47

COMPETES Reauthorization Passes (Update)

**12/21 Update** Today, the House passed the America COMPETES Act, as already agreed to in the Senate. The legislation now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it. Additional details will be provided shortly *********************************** On December 17th, in somewhat of a surprise move, the Senate voted to pass the America COMPETES Act.

Continuing Resolution Likely Until March (Possibly Beyond)

The Senate Appropriations Committee has released a summary of a fourth continuing resolution, which would keep the government operating through March 4th at FY10 spending levels. The new CR comes after a failed attempt to advance a new spending package for FY11. The passage a CR through March 4th, as expected this week, would defer

Congress Passes Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act

On Friday Congress passed an altered version of the existing Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is designed to address issues that arose with the previous legislation. The updated bill will:  -  provide full tuition for those attending a public school in their home state and up to $17,500 in tuition payments for those attending private schools

FY11 Appropriations Come to a Halt

Yesterday evening, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) decided to pull the FY11 omnibus appropriations package from the Senate schedule.The move came after several committed “aye” votes decided that they could no longer support the legislation due to concerns about the overall cost and presence of earmarks. The next step in the FY11 process will

Rep. Adam Smith Likely Ranking Member on House Armed Services

Yesterday, the Democratic Policy and Steering Committee voted to recommend that Washington Congressman Adam Smith serve as the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. The vote essentially guarantees Congressman Smith the Ranking Member post in the 112th Congress. The Armed Services Committee has oversight of the operations of the Department of Defense as

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