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Media

Here's What's Happening in Congress:

18 April 2008
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This week the House passed HR 2634, a bill that expands the list of low-income countries that may be eligible for debt forgiveness under certain circumstances. These countries will be required to spend certain amounts on poverty reduction, education, and some other programs. The bill passed 285-132 on April 16.

On April 15, the House had a vote to suspend the rules and pass a bill providing funding to states to switch to paper voting ballots. The bill was HR 5036. A suspension of the rules is used to speed the legislative process, and under a suspension a 2/3 vote is required to pass the legislation. This vote failed 239-178, short of the 2/3 vote.

Also on Tax Day, The House passed HR 5719, a bill concerning IRS practices and tax provisions. The two parts of the bill that drew the most debate were a provision that ends a program the IRS uses to hire private contractors to collect delinquent taxes, and a provision that requires additional verification by a taxpayer that any money they take out of a Health Savings Account is either used for medical purposes or that they've paid the income tax and 10% fee on the amount. This bill passed 238-179.

Finally, the House passed HR 5715 on April 17. This bill increases the amount that college students can take out in Federal loans, makes it easier for some parents who are going through house foreclosures to take out college loans, and allows the Department of Education to buy federally guaranteed student loans that lenders can't sell to investors. This bill passed 383-27.

Look for summaries on these bills soon!

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