Congress back, countdown to transportation, student loan bill deadlines
By VICTORIA JONES
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – The House and the Senate are in this week and they’re almost out of time if they want to get two major items done before their deadlines at the end of the month: keeping the interest on student loans at 3.4% rather than jumping to 6.8%,and passing a long term surface transportation bill.
The wrangling’s been raging and the rhetoric’s been rising in recent weeks and with the health care ruling coming out in the middle and the inevitable scramble for the microphones threatening to overshadow everything, things don’t look too good.
Student loans: The public really wants this done. Millions of students and their parents face rising costs if it isn’t and they’re not impressed with lawmakers saying they want to get it done and then arguing over how to pay for it. There are various offers on the table at the moment and it’s expected it will get done. But there will be political mess and blood on the floor to get there.
Transportation: Much less likely. The 47 member conference committee’s been negotiating for weeks, and the Keystone XL pipeline provision continues to be a sticking point (along with several other issues). Republicans in the House want a piece in that would require the White House to approve construction. Democrats in the Senate don’t and they’re trying to reconcile the two bills.
It’s very likely that there will be a 10th short-term extension that will keep construction workers on the job until, probably, the end of the year. But that will nearly drain the Highway Trust Fund.
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