Federal Relations

May 22, 2013

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…


May 16, 2013

Chairman of the House Science Committee vs. NSF — the fight escalates

In what appears to be an ever escalating battle, the National Science Foundation (NSF) today officially refused to comply with a request to supply reviewer comments to five grants questioned by House Science, Space and Technology Chairman, Lamar Smith (R-TX). On April 25th, Chairman Smith sent a letter to the NSF, which asked for an…


House Committee Moves on Student Loan Fix

Today, the House Education and the Workforce Committee marked up and two measures on to improve college costs and data transparency. The committee modestly amended and approved HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act by a vote of 24-13, which ran largely along party lines. The amended HR 1911 would peg interest rates on all…


May 13, 2013

Charting the student loan interest rate proposals

As the Office of Federal Relations continues to track the proposals and progress made on legislation affecting the student loan interest rate, below is a chart highlighting the proposals to date and major proposals. Options continue to multiply as the July 1 deadline raising the 3.4 percent interest rate to 6.4 percent is quickly approaching….


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