Last Week In Congress

By: Carolyn Appel

The House of Represenatives:

  • The House passed their version of the farm bill on a party-line vote of 216 to 208.  Twelve Republicans voted against and no Democrats voted in favor of the bill.  For the first time in 40  years, the bill did not include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps).  The farm bill did include subsidies for crop insurance.  The Senate version of the farm bill can be found here.
  • The path forward on immigration reform is likely to be bumpy, if there is a path forward at all.

The Senate:

  • The Senate voted on a procedural motion on S.1238, the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, which would have extended current student loan interest rates for one year.  The Senate failed to invoke cloture (60 votes needed) and the bill did not pass by a vote of 51 to 49.

In the Week Ahead…

  • The Senate could be headed for a rules change to the filibuster.  Last week, Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture motions on seven Executive Branch nominees. The most controversial of those nominees include Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and several nominees to fill the five slots on the National Labor Relations Board.  There is no precedent for the Senate to change its procedural rules in the middle of the Congressional session.  Here is a primer on the so-called “nuclear option.”
  • Look for the Senate to continue to try to find a deal on student loan interest rates.
  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold two hearings of note: Embassy Security and Samantha Power’s nomination to be the next ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The appropriations process continues in both the House and the Senate.
  • The House may take up reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known as No Child Left Behind).

 

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