Back in January, at the dawn of the year, we gazed into our not-quite-crystal ball and took a look at some pieces of pending legislation that could help consumers this year. Now, in July, we’re at the halfway point of the year, and so it’s a good time to take a look at those bills and see how the wheels of government have turned in 2014.
The FCC is spending the summer considering their Open Internet Rule, the piece of cable company f*ckery with a giant loophole allowing companies to negotiate paid prioritization of their network traffic. Today, Democratic lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill that would outright ban those fast lanes.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler took the hot seat today in an oversight hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to testify about current issues before his agency, including net neutrality. The overriding theme of the day? Pretty much everyone who spoke hates the rule the FCC narrowly approved for consideration last week — just for different reasons.
Between finding a job, finding a place to live, paying bills, and generally being an adult for the first time in their lives, many recent college graduates face a slew of challenges. One thing they shouldn’t have to think about is automatically defaulting on a student loan when a co-signer dies or files for bankruptcy. Today, legislators proposed a bill to protect consumers from getting stuck in this trap. [More]
Remember what it was like to book air travel way back in ye olden days of three years ago? You’d spot a really excellent online deal on a flight, only to discover at checkout that after the taxes and fees, it was $50 higher than you’d thought. The Dept. of Transportation changed all that in 2012 — but now, a bill rapidly moving through Congress could reverse that change entirely.
Online State Sales Tax Solution Remains Elusive After Congress Declares ‘Fundamental Defects’ In Senate Bill
After years of attempts to craft a federal law that would affirm states’ rights to tax online purchases, the issue may still be far from being resolved. The House Judiciary Committee has put the brakes on the Marketplace Fairness Act passed by the Senate in May.
Congress is all set to pass a $1.1 trillion budget this week. The massive spending bill, which has already cleared the House and is likely to pass in the Senate, affects every federal agency there is. Yet in the midst of a trillion-dollar omnibus law that reaches into every aspect of our government, there is controversy. And over what enormous issue might such controversy exist, you might ask?
2013 is gone, a collection of memories never to be dealt with again. Next week, the 113th Congress returns for its second session, ideally to enact legislation throughout 2014, some of which could help consumers if they were to become law. [More]
Is it breezy in here or is the combined sighs of relief we’re feeling from college students and parents now that the Congress has reached a compromise on student loan rates? After weeks of the Senate trying to wangle a way to retroactively keep those rates down, the House voted yesterday to approve a compromise from the Senate, which will tie interest rates to the dips and dives of the financial markets. [More]
Last week, Congress passed a budget bill that keeps the federal government going until the end of the federal budget year on September 30, and averts the scary and inconvenient consequences of a government shutdown. That’s good. There’s an interesting provision, though: like past budget bills, it specifically says that the U.S. Postal service can’t cut back on mail delivery, which it had planned to do in August. Oops. But while groups of letter carriers and supporters held rallies nationwide yesterday, has the crisis been averted? Yes. No. We’re not really sure. [More]
Pardon us, U.S. House of Representatives — is that… is that mud on your face? Don’t worry, you’re not the only government group to get caught allegedly downloading pirated content from the Internets. A new report claims that someone or multiple someones in the offices of the U.S. House of Representatives have been catching up on TV and movies by illegally downloading content recently. [More]
The Drywall Safety Act of 2012 passed Congress on New Year’s Day 2013 and is currently waiting for President Obama’s signature. The purpose of the bill is to keep stinky and hazardous drywall out of American homes. Simple enough. Thanks to the miracle of democracy, the bill has been watered down and gives less power to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and more to the building industry to draw up its own voluntary standards. [More]
For the apparently shrinking amount of milk drinkers out there, we’ve got some bad news: There’s a thing called the Milk Cliff, and we’re standing on it. If Congress doesn’t act on a new farm bill that amends a policy from 1949, the price of a gallon of milk could increase and possibly even double. Yes, a milk cliff. It’s a thing. [More]
Modern Americans love our horses, and not for eating, so we’re betting the news that Congress has lifted a ban on funding horse meat inspections, potentially enabling slaughterhouses to open, will be met with a bit of outrage. It’s not a simple matter, however.