Morning Action: Lawmakers to Talk Immigration Today on Capitol Hill

IMMIGRATION.  Conservative lawmakers will be outlining their immigration agenda today on Capitol Hill:

Illegal immigration is back in to the spotlight on Capitol Hill as the White House and congressional Republicans spar over the “urgent humanitarian situation” facing thousands of young immigrants marooned in Arizona.

With immigration reform supporters in Washington this week, lawmakers gather today for the monthly Conversations with Conservatives event at 11 a.m. ET in 2237 Rayburn House Office Building. It will be broadcast live on The Daily Signal.

STUDENT LOANS.   President Obama signed an executive order Monday to “ease the burden of student debt at the expense of “millionaires” through the “Pay as You Earn” program:

The program, “Pay as You Earn,” expands an existing federal loan option available to undergrad and graduate students. It issues caps on monthly loan payments at 10 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income and forgives their remaining balance after 20 years.

For those working in public service or the government, any remaining debt is forgiven after 10 years. An estimated 5 million more borrowers will become eligible under the new plan. Before today, only those who took out loans after 2007 were entitled to “Pay as You Earn” benefits.

To finance the program, Obama proposed closing “tax loopholes” for the wealthy, or what he called “millionaires.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke explains why this is a harmful move:

Making income-based repayment options even more generous will continue to enable universities to raise tuition and fees, confident that students will have access to a deep well of federal loans and grants, which will be paid-off through IBR and loan forgiveness on the backs of the taxpayers.

Moreover, such subsidies shift the responsibility of paying for college from the student, who directly benefits from attending college, to the taxpayer.

EX-IM BANK.  One Republican lawmaker defending the Export-Import Bank also happens to benefit from its existence:

Heritage Action criticized Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) on Monday for his company’s benefitting from the Export Import Bank, saying it is an example of “Washington working for itself.”

Collins’ is a co-founder and serves on the board of directors for Audubon Machinery Corporation, which reported a combined capital guarantee and trade insurance worth $8.33 million between 2007 and 2014, according to Ex-Im records.

Ex-Im was created during FDR’s administration in 1934 and it offers taxpayer-backed guarantees, loans and insurance to U.S. companies and corporations to allow such firms to do business overseas, such as was the case with Audubon.

Collins spokesman Grant Loomis and an Ex-Im spokesperson each said Audubon did not receive a direct loan from Ex-Im.

But Heritage says that doesn’t matter, saying Collins’ benefitting from Audubon has motivated him to push for Ex-Im’s reauthorization, which expires in September and has become a lightening rod in conservative circles.

T-HUD.  House lawmakers are working on their fiscal 2015 Transportation-HUD spending bill (sub. req’d):

House lawmakers press on this morning with their fiscal 2015 Transportation-HUD spending bill after working through the brunt of amendment debate last night, battling over funding for public housing and transportation grants. Seizing upon the urgency to pass legislation after the recent Veterans Affairs scandal, the House also votes swiftly on a bill (HR 4810) that would allow veterans to seek care outside the VA system. 

Democrats Monday put up little resistance to the bill (sub. req’d):

The House on Monday set a course for swift passage of the fiscal 2015 Transportation-HUD spending bill, after Democrats signaled during the first few hours of debate that they would not put up much of a fight.

Arizona Democrat Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ), the ranking Democrat on Transportation-HUD subcommittee said his side would not introduce many amendments, hoping to get the bill (HR 4745) to a conference with the Senate as quickly as possible. At $52 billion, the House bill is considerably smaller than the $54.4 billion allocated in the Senate’s appropriations bill for transportation and housing (S 2438).

“The bill is pretty much the best that can be done,” he said. “I just want the bill to move forward so that when we get to the Senate and do a conference they have a better allocation so may we can improve the bill.”


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