On the Hill this Week

With just a few weeks left before the August break, Congress will try this week to pass a few spending bills for the next fiscal year. And the Senate may address the student loan interest rate hike that took place July 1.

Spending Bills

While work continues on 2014 spending bills, chances are slim that they will be completed by the end of September, when the current continuing resolution expires. Most expect that Congress will again pass a continuing spending resolution to ensure 2014 funding.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (S 1243): this bill would spend $54 billion in 2014, $10 billion more than the House version, and is the first spending bill for next year that the Senate has considered.
Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2397): This bill spends $512 billion in non-war funding, down about $5 billion from last year’s bill but up $28 billion from current spending levels that include the sequester.
As part of the debate on the defense spending bill, House members will be considering amendments to reduce military aid to Egypt and Syria — and limit NSA surveillance. Learn more in this week’s What to Watch with Charlie Mitchell.

In the Senate

Student Loan Interest Rates (S 1334): Congress might also finally pass a bill modifying the interest rate on student loans from the current 6.8 percent. A group of senators said they agreed to a bill last week that would peg the interest rate to the government’s borrowing rate, and the Senate may be in a position to pass this bill.
Many Democrats oppose the compromise, however, as it could lead the student rate to rise above 6.8% should interest rates rise higher. However, several key Democrats said last week that they support the bill, which would have the immediate effect of lowering the rate from 6.8 percent. The Senate compromise is very similar to a House-passed bill that many Democrats and President Obama said they oppose. As a result, Senate passage of the bill this week, could let the House quickly pass it as well.

In the House

The House may also take up to energy deregulation bills this week:

  • Energy Consumers Relief Act (HR 1852): would block regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency if they have an impact of $1 billion or more and would hurt job creation.
  • Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (HR 2218): would give states permission to set their own standards for managing coal runoff.

Finally, the House will consider up to six, less controversial suspension bills throughout the week:

  • Three Kids Mine Remediation and Reclamation Act (HR 697): conveying park land in Nevada to the city of Henderson, Nevada.
  • HR 1300: amending the Fish and Wildlife Act to reauthorize wildlife volunteer programs.
  • California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act (HR 1411): adding land in California to the National Landscape Conservation System.
  • WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act (HR 1542): establishing intelligence activities in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis in the Department of Homeland and security, related to weapons of mass destruction.
  • HR 2353: allowing vehicles currently allowed to operate on Route 41 in Wisconsin to remain legal even if a segment of the road is designated as a route on the Interstate System.
  • HConRes 44: A resolution allowing the Capitol grounds to be used for the Olympic torch run.


Last week, the House voted last week to delay parts of Obamacare, the 2010 health care law, after the Obama Administration decided to delay the employer insurance mandate.