Congressional Climate September 5th, 2017
Video of the Day
Irma Strengthens To Category 5 Hurricane
Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
3:00 p.m.: Convene and begin a period of morning business.
5:00 p.m.: Proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of Timothy J. Kelly to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia.
House Floor Schedule
2:00 p.m.: House will meet for legislative business.
Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
4:00 p.m.: The Committee on Rules will hold a hearing for H.R. 3354 Department of the Interior Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2018 Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act 2018.
Toxic waste sites flooded in Houston area
HIGHLANDS, Texas (AP) — As Dwight Chandler sipped beer and swept out the thick muck caked inside his devastated home, he worried whether Harvey’s floodwaters had also washed in pollution from the old acid pit just a couple blocks away.
Long a center of the nation’s petrochemical industry, the Houston metro area has more than a dozen Superfund sites, designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as being among America’s most intensely contaminated places. Many are now flooded, with the risk that waters were stirring dangerous sediment.
TThe Highlands Acid Pit site near Chandler’s home was filled in the 1950s with toxic sludge and sulfuric acid from oil and gas operations. Though 22,000 cubic yards of hazardous waste and soil were excavated from the acid pits in the 1980s, the site is still considered a potential threat to groundwater, and the EPA maintains monitoring wells there.
Trump’s punt to Congress on DACA threatens new GOP rift
President Donald Trump’s expected decision to punt the fate of nearly 800,000 Dreamers to Congress promises to drive yet another rift through an already fractured Republican Party, which has for years struggled to coalesce around immigration reform proposals.
Already, GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill are reacting in wildly diverging ways to Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan to dismantle an Obama-era initiative for immigrants brought here illegally at a young age — but to give Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution first.
A growing number of Republicans have urged Trump not to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — with some lashing out against the president in harsh terms — while other GOP lawmakers have indicated he is not ending the five-year-old initiative quickly enough.
The September to-do list keeps getting longer: Perkins Loan reauthorization
When Congress reconvenes in September from its August recess, it must confront a daunting to-do list. By Sept. 30, the nation’s debt limit must be lifted in order to avoid defaulting on our obligations; an appropriations bill must be passed in order to keep the Federal government open and providing essential services; and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) must be reauthorized. Additionally, one can only hope that some type of bipartisan measure to stabilize the individual insurance market is passed. Daunting indeed; did I mention that Congress is only scheduled to be in session for 12 days for the month?
One vitally important program that must also be re-authorized by Sept. 30, but has received virtually no public attention, is the Perkins Loan program. First started in the late 1950’s, and originally called the National Defense Student Loan program (NDSL), the Perkins Loan program is one of the three Campus-Based student aid programs, joining the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS).
Funds for these programs are dispersed to students by college and university student financial aid officers, and collectively they represent a crucial component of the student aid portfolio, augmenting funds available from the much larger Pell Grant and Stafford Loan programs.
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