Federal Relations

May 24, 2013

Furlough Friday courtesy of the Sequester

Today is the largest non-weather-related partial government shutdown in recent history thanks the Sequester. Around 115,000 people, which is approximately 5 percent of the federal workforce, will stay home thanks to Sequester mandated furloughs. That includes nearly all of the workers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Office of Management…


May 23, 2013

House Passes HR 1911

The House just approved the bill HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act. The bill passed by a vote of 221 to 198 — largely by party lines: 8 Republicans voted against the bill while 4 Democrats supported it. Before the vote, several higher education associations agreed to be listed as supporters of the legislation,…


May 22, 2013

Veto threat to HR 1911, Smarter Solutions for Students Act

As we have previously posted, the House is slated to consider HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act on Thursday of this week or tomorrow. Yesterday, Education Secretary Duncan all but endorsed the legislation. While the House Rules Committee has yet to meet and determine how to proceed and what amendments will be made…


Senate Judiciary Committee Clears Immigration Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared a comprehensive immigration reform bill late yesterday afternoon after a week of considering over 200 amendments. The bill, drafted by a bipartisan groups of Senators dubbed the ‘gang of eight’ would, among other things; expand the annual cap of H-1B visas to 110,000 from the existing cap of 65,000, raise…


May 21, 2013

Secretary Duncan advocates long-term student interest rate solution

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, testified before the House Committee on Education and Workforce today. During the hearing, House Chairman Klein specifically asked Secretary Duncan to clarify the Administration’s position on the student loan issue. The Republican attempted to elicit an endorsement from Duncan of their bill, HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act,…


Moniz sworn in as Secretary of Energy

Dr. Ernest Moniz was sworn in as Energy secretary in the department’s cafeteria this morning. Moriz was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate on May 16. Moniz, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist, begins with bipartisan endorsement after his 97-0 confirmation. His predecessor, Steven Chu, also won unanimous confirmation in 2009 before battling with GOP lawmakers over…


May 20, 2013

Senate focuses on Farm Bill and House focuses on Student Loans for the bulk of the week

The Senate and House continue to work though legislation that respective committees addressed last week. The full Senate will consider the Farm Bill (S 954), which the Senate Agriculture Committee passed last week. The Farm Bill reauthorization , which would overhaul farm subsidies and food stamp programs, is expected to be considered by the Senate for…


This Week in Congress

An overview of House and Senate Committee Hearings and Markups on the schedule this week. TUESDAY, MAY 21st House Appropriations FISCAL 2014 APPROPRIATIONS: 302(B) ALLOCATIONS May 21, 11 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Bldg Full Committee Markup House Education & the Workforce FISCAL 2014 BUDGET: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION May 21, 10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg Full Committee…


FY14 Appropriations Update

Appropriations:  This week, House appropriators are expected to approve a plan for writing FY14 spending bills that would make deep cuts in domestic programs in order to protect defense programs. The overall figure will adhere to the spending caps set by recent budget agreements and assumes the sequester will apply to FY14 without a larger…


May 17, 2013

House GOP Proposes Austere FY14 Appropriations Plan

Late yesterday, the House Republicans released new spending targets for FY14 appropriations bills. Under the GOP numbers, the Labor-HHS-ED bill will face a nearly 20 percent reduction on top of the cuts already made in the March 1st sequestration order. These programs would be capped at $121.8 billion — or about $28 billion below the…


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