This Week on the Hill


The Senate will try once again to pass a student loan bill, and the House will work on a bill authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars in defense spending for the next fiscal year.

In the Senate

The Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act (S 2343): This is the Democratic bill (from Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV]) to extend the 3.4 percent interest rates on new Stafford loans for another year. (Without legislation, rates will jump to 6.8 percent on July 1.) The Senate failed to move this bill last week because Republicans and Democrats were fighting over how to pay for the $6 billion cost.

Democrats want to pay for the bill by boosting Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on high-earning stockholders of some privately owned corporations. Republicans proposed covering the cost by cutting a preventive health care fund (a proposal that the President has threatened to veto.) Last week, Democrats said they might let Republicans vote on their preferred bill, but the two sides never reached a deal to allow these votes to happen.
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/s2343

— The Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act (HR 2072): The House approved this bill last week and handed it to the Senate. Democrats were looking to accept the House bill, but Senate Republicans wanted to add more amendments. This fight forced Democrats to schedule a procedural vote on Monday, in an attempt to move ahead with the House-passed bill. (From Rep. Gary Miller [R, CA-42])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2072

In the House

The House will take up the following bills this week:

— The National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 (HR 4310): This bill authorizes $643 billion in defense spending. The House will start work on the bill Wednesday, and is expected to approve it by Friday. (From Rep. Howard McKeon [R, CA-25])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4310

— The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (HR 4970) is the Republican proposal (from Rep. Sandy Adams [R, FL-24]) to reauthorize a federal program aimed at helping women who are victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault. The GOP bill, number 12 on POPVOX last week, is similar to a Senate passed bill, but does not expand access to visas for illegal immigrants who are victims of abuse.
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4970

— The National Blue Alert Act (HR 365) creates a federal alert system when law enforcement officers are injured or killed. (From Rep. Michael Grimm [R, NY-13])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr365

— The Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (HR 1864) limits the authority of states to tax income for work done in other states. (From Rep. Howard Coble [R, NC-6])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr1864

— The Security in Bonding Act (HR 3534) strengthens the bonding process to reduce fraud in bonds used to guarantee the payment of federal contractors. (From Rep. Richard Hanna [R, NY-24])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr3534

— The Border Tunnel Prevention Act (HR 4119) increases penalties against people who construct unauthorized border tunnels. (From Rep. Silvestre Reyes [D, TX-16])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4119

— The Chimney Rock National Monument Establishment Act (HR 2621) designates the monument in Colorado. (From Rep. Scott Tipton [R, CO-3])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2621

— HR 2745 facilitates implementation of a multi-species habitat conservation plan for the Virgin River in Clark County, Nevada. (From Rep. Joe Heck [R, NV-3])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2745

— The Black Hills Cemetery Act (HR 3874) conveys land to South Dakota. (From Rep. Kristi Noem [R, SD-0])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr3874

— The Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act (HEARTH Act) (HR 205) expands the authority of Indian tribes to lease land. (From Rep. Martin Heinrich [D, NM-1])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr205

— The North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act (HR 4240) authorizes funds to promote democracy in North Korea. (From Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4240

— HRes 568 expresses the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the importance of preventing the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. (From Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hres568

— HR 4045 ensures that service members receive adequate time off under the Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence Program. (From Rep. John Kline [R, MN-2])
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4045

Other Bills of Interest

The House will also vote on several non-controversial bills starting on Tuesday, some of which may pass in uncontested voice votes. They are:

— The Occupational Therapy Mental Health Act (HR 3762) (from Rep. Paul Tonko [D, NY-21]). This bill would include occupational therapists as health professionals for the purposes of the National Health Service Corps, which would allow these therapists to benefit from fellowships and scholarships under the program. But while this Democratic-sponsored bill was number one on POPVOX last week, the Republican Congress has no plans to take it up, and no hearings on it are scheduled in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, to which it has been referred.
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr3762

— The Interest Rate Reduction Act (HR 4628) (from Rep. Judy Biggert [R, IL-13]): This is the House Republican bill to keep the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans low for another year. Number four on POPVOX last week, the bill has been sent to the Senate, which has not taken up the bill as it pursues a Democratic alternative.
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4628

— The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (HR 4133) (from Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7]): The House approved this bill (number five on POPVOX last week). It reaffirms the U.S. commitment to defend Israel, and extends a loan guarantee program that lowers Israel’s borrowing costs.
Weigh in at http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr4133

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