Federal Relations

July 9, 2012

This Week in Congress

Both the House and Senate return to Capitol Hill today from their Fourth of July recess and begin the final four week stretch before the August recess. The Senate is in at 2:00pm though no votes are scheduled until tomorrow. The House is also in at 2:00pm with votes expected at 6:30pm, when seven bills…


July 2, 2012

The Aftermath…

Both the House and Senate are in recess this week for the Fourth of July holiday.  Late last week, both chambers demonstrated that they can advance legislation by reauthorizing federal highway and transit programs for two years and preventing Stafford student loan interest rate increases.  Also last week, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care…


June 29, 2012

Student Loans and Transportation Research

The House and Senate both will take action today on the conference agreement to HR 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The agreement reauthorizes federal highway, transit, and other surface transportation programs through September 30, 2014, at current funding levels with inflationary increases for certain programs. It consolidates or…


June 28, 2012

SCOTUS Upholds “Individual Mandate”

The Supreme Court has upheld the “individual mandate” requiring Americans to carry health insurance. The mandate is a key element of the Affordable Care Act.  More details to come.


June 27, 2012

Deal Reached on Student Loans

On Tuesday, Senate leaders announced that they reached a deal to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, but they are still determining whether to attach that “deal” to a measure that would reauthorize highway programs, which is still being negotiated. Congress must take action on both issues –…


June 26, 2012

Congress Requests Information on Implementation of the Sequester

Today, the House Budget Committee mark up Republican leaders’ legislation, similar to bipartisan language added last week to the Senate farm bill that seeks more information about the automatic budget cuts.  The action comes after several attempts by lawmakers to get more details from the administration about how the roughly $109 billion sequester will take…


June 25, 2012

Very Big Week in Congress

Today begins a very big week in Congress that could have huge consequences for the remainder of the calendar year.  First, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a ruling that will likely dominate the airwaves this week.  Second, Congress must deal with two critical legislative…


June 22, 2012

Senate Bill Requires Reports on Impact of Sequestration

Yesterday, the Senate passed a five-year reauthorization of farm legislation (S 3240) that includes a bipartisan amendment requiring detailed reports on the effects of the pending budget sequestration on both defense and nondefense discretionary spending. The amendment would require three reports: one from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the overall budget figures…


Odds and Ends for the Week

Student Loan Interest Rates:  Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are getting close to a deal to prevent student loan rates from doubling on July 1st, from 3.4 percent up to 6.8 percent.  A deal could be announced as soon as today, although early next week seems more likely. The talks have…


June 21, 2012

Commerce Secretary to Resign

Commerce Secretary John Bryson informed the department’s employees Thursday that he has given the president a letter of resignation. “I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission,” Bryson said. Bryson had been on a medical leave of absence since June 11, following a seizure…


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