The Supreme Court and Congress are making decisions this week likely to be debated during presidential and congressional elections in the fall. Some of the key matters in question:
STUDENT LOANS: House and Senate negotiators are nearing an agreement on how to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1 for 7.4 million college students. Under the plan now being written, the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans would be preserved for another year.
HIGHWAY SPENDING: House and Senate negotiators are trying to pay for highway projects before the funding expires on June 30. That could save or create more than 2 million jobs. If they reach no agreement, lawmakers are expected to extend the current law to pay for the projects until after the November elections.
HEALTH CARE LAW: The Supreme Court is expected to rule Thursday on President Barack Obama’s signature domestic initiative, the 2010 law that mandated health insurance and helped set off a populist revolt that flipped control of the House to Republicans. Even though the economy remains the electorate’s top worry, the health care decision could have the most immediate political impact on the election. Republicans want to repeal any part of the law that survives the high court’s review, but not until next year. Obama hasn’t said what he would do in the event the law is overturned.
IMMIGRATION: The Supreme Court on Monday threw out key provisions of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration but upheld a contentious provision that requires police, during police stops, to check immigration status of people who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally. Democrats say that opens the door to racial profiling; Republicans say the decision upholds the rights of states to enforce their own immigration policy.