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Hill Update - July 2, 2013

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  • S. 1266: A bill to provide for the establishment of a mechanism to allow borrowers of private education loans to refinance their loans, and for other purposes.
  • S. 1241: Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act
  • S. 1238: Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013
  • H.R. 2493: The Open Fuel Standard Act. To amend chapter 329 of title 49, United States Code, to ensure that new vehicles enable fuel competition so as to reduce the strategic importance of oil to the United States.
  • S. 1250: A bill to provide $50,000,000,000 in new transportation infrastructure funding through bonding to empower States and local governments to complete significant infrastructure projects across all modes of transportation, including roads, bridges, rail and transit systems, ports, and inland waterways, and for other purposes.

 

S. 1266: A bill to provide for the establishment of a mechanism to allow borrowers of private education loans to refinance their loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown [D-OH]
Cosponsors: Durbin, Richard [D-IL], Gillibrand, Kirsten [D-NY], Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND], and Murray, Patty [D-WA].
Status: In the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Purpose: The bill would help individuals reduce their student loan debt by refinancing at no cost to taxpayers. Private loans typically have higher interest rates – that can top 18 percent – and are more difficult to refinance and offer fewer payment options than loans administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

 
S. 1241: Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act
Sponsor: Sen. Joe Manchin III [D-WV]
Cosponsors: 7, breakdown (5R, 1I, 1D)
Status: Reported by Committee

Purpose: A bill to establish the interest rate for certain Federal student loans, and for other purposes. Specifically, “the applicable rate of interest shall, for loans disbursed during any 12-month period beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30, be determined on the preceding June 1 and be equal to--the bond equivalent rate of 10-year Treasury bills auctioned at the final auction held prior to such June 1; plus 1.85 percent for Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans for undergraduate students; 3.4 percent for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans for graduate students; and 4.4 percent for Federal Direct PLUS Loans.


S. 1238: Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013
Sponsor: Sen. John “Jack” Reed [D-RI]
Cosponsors: 38, breakdown (37D, 1I).
Status: Reported by Committee

Purpose: A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the current reduced interest rate for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans for 1 year, to modify required distribution rules for pension plans, and for other purposes.

 

H.R. 2493: The Open Fuel Standard Act. To amend chapter 329 of title 49, United States Code, to ensure that new vehicles enable fuel competition so as to reduce the strategic importance of oil to the United States.
Sponsor: Rep. Eliot Engel [D-NY16]
Cosponsors: Bordallo, Madeleine [D-GU0], Cole, Tom [R-OK4], Israel, Steve [D-NY3]
Peterson, Collin [D-MN7], Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL27] and Schwartz, Allyson [D-PA13].
Status: In the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Purpose: The new bill would require a percentage of new automobiles to operate on nonpetroleum-based fuels. Specifically, the bill would require thirty (30) percent of new automobiles in 2016 to operate on nonpetroleum fuels instead of, or in addition to, petroleum-based fuels. The percentage would rise to fifty (50) percent in 2017. This bill only applies to passenger vehicles and light-duty motor vehicles, the latter is defined as “a light duty truck or light duty vehicle, having a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less, before any after-market conversion to alternative fuel operation.”

S. 1250: A bill to provide $50,000,000,000 in new transportation infrastructure funding through bonding to empower States and local governments to complete significant infrastructure projects across all modes of transportation, including roads, bridges, rail and transit systems, ports, and inland waterways, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR]
Cosponsor: Hoeven, John [R-ND]
Status: Referred to the Senate Finance Committee

Purpose: The bipartisan, bicameral Transportation and Regional Infrastructure Project (TRIP) bonds legislation would allow states to issue up to a total of $50 billion – $1 billion per state – in bonds for transportation infrastructure projects over a six year period. The principal amount of the bonds would be covered by a state match to a trust fund and invested for the life of the bonds.  In lieu of interest, the bondholders would receive federal tax credits that could be applied against federal income tax liabilities.


Gas and Diesel Taxes to Rise in July to Fund Improvements in U.S. Infrastructure
Gasoline and diesel sales will rise by up to 10 cents per gallon in several states beginning July 1, according to a report conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). ITEP said the federal government has not raised its gas taxes in nearly two decades and now 10 states will see either their gasoline or diesel taxes rise next week. The increase is divided among states that have recently voted for the tax hike and states that have reformed their gas taxes some years ago to gradually increase over time, it said.