Congress Passes Student Loan/Transportation Package

By: Friday June 29, 2012 2:22 pm

Congress has quickly passed a series of bills, consolidated into one package, that freezes federal student loan interest rates at 3.4% for one year, and extends surface transportation funding for two years. The package also reauthorizes the federal flood insurance program for five years. Congress was clearly eager to get out of town for the Fourth of July recess, because they passed this giant package, in both chambers, in one day.


Environmentalists Don’t Like Concessions in Transportation Bill

By: Friday June 29, 2012 10:23 am

Lost in the shuffle yesterday amid the health care ruling and the contempt citation for Eric Holder was the deal reached on a minibus package for freezing student loan interest rates, extending surface transportation funding for two years, and reauthorizing for five years the flood insurance program. That package will get House and Senate votes by this afternoon, just beating key deadlines on all three measures, and allowing Congress to go home for the July 4th recess.

In Bipartisan Deal, Congress to Package Student Loan, Transportation, Flood Insurance Bills

By: Thursday June 28, 2012 6:25 am

As we await the Supreme Court ruling on health care, two of the other major stories of the week have reached a conclusion. Congress has reached agreement on a compromise package that will avert three separate deadlines and deliver some of the more robust lawmaking of the entire year to date.

Congress Nearing Compromise on Student Loan, Highway Bills, But Not There Yet

By: Wednesday June 27, 2012 11:45 am

House Speaker John Boehner assured reporters today that bipartisan deals are near on two pieces of legislation that must be passed before expiration on Saturday. The two bills, one to prevent the federal student loan interest rate from doubling, and the other to extend surface transportation funding for two years, have been tied up in Congress for months.

Decision Time Nears for Student Loan, Highway Bills

By: Sunday June 24, 2012 7:03 pm

I’ve been tracking the two deadlines for Congress coming up in just over a week. If no action is taken, new federal student loans will see an interest rate of 6.8%, double the current 3.4%. And there will be no surface transportation bill, meaning that highway projects with federal participation will grind to a halt and the 18-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax would go uncollected (heck, at this point, that might be the only stimulus we see this year).

Congressional Leadership Makes Last-Ditch Effort on Surface Transportation Bill

By: Wednesday June 20, 2012 2:10 pm

Congressional leadership is getting antsy over the possibility of no highway bill for the year, and another in a series of extensions, which will likely depress construction spending and harm local vulnerable members back in their home district. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner asked both sides to iron out their differences this week.

Highway Bill Unlikely to Emerge from Conference Committee

By: Monday June 18, 2012 1:30 pm

Congress appears poised to do what it does best – absolutely nothing. At issue are the doubling of the student loan interest rate, and the surface transportation bill. Both are stuck on an unwillingness to agree on whether/how to pay for them, and there’s little to encourage the members to agree as time runs out.

Congressional Gridlock Starting to Have Impact

By: Thursday May 31, 2012 4:15 pm

I’ve spilled a lot of e-ink about the fiscal cliff, that looming set of expiring measures at the end of the year that will have a serious impact on fiscal policy, spending and taxes going forward. But there are quite a few policies that either expire or are urgently needed well before the end of the year. And election-year politics being what they are, those measures are getting bottled up.

Boehner Maneuvers for Conference Committee on Transportation Bill

By: Thursday April 19, 2012 3:30 pm

The House passed yet another extension of the federal surface transportation bill. This one also goes for 90 days and would take the highway trust fund from June 30 to September 30, 2012.

As expected, House Republicans attached some riders to the bill, including one that drew a White House veto threat.

House GOP Will Try to Attach Keystone XL Pipeline to Surface Transportation Bill

By: Friday April 13, 2012 5:45 pm

Republicans think they have a winning issue with the Keystone XL pipeline, even though President Obama has already approved the lower half of it. They think it plays into their depiction of Obama as unwilling to promote domestic energy to lower gas prices, even though domestic oil and gas production has exploded under Obama, and the pipeline would do nothing to aid that with the tar sands oil coming from Canada and just moving to Texas refineries on its way out to sea and the global market.

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