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Congress Moves Legislation Before Holiday Break

Congress Moves Legislation Before Holiday

     WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) --  Lawmakers on Capitol Hill came together Friday to pass bipartisan legislation to improve infrastructure, help students pay off college loans, and help prevent the spread of an invasive species. 
     Yesterday, it seemed Congress was divided as ever between the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care reform and the House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.  But on Friday, it was a whole different story.   
     Both the House and Senate passed what’s called a conference report.  It included a provision to prevent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for undergrads from doubling on July 1st.  President Obama has been speaking at colleges across the country all year long urging Congress to take action on this.  Those interest rates will now stay at 3.4% through July 2013.
     The bill also includes $105 billion for highway and infrastructure improvement across the country.   It’s also estimated to create or save three million construction jobs.
     And then, there’s the provision that calls on the Army Corps of Engineers to submit a plan to Congress within 18 months to stop the spread of the invasive Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.  The fish can grow up to 100 pounds and eat almost everything in their path – threatening the $7 billion a year fishing industry on the Great Lakes. The House bill passed by a vote of 373-52, while the Senate bill passed 74-19.  It heads to the president’s desk. 
     Friday was the last day Congress was in session before a week-long recess for the Fourth of July holiday.