President Obama signed HR 4348, the bill passed by Congress on the last day before the 4th of July recess, which includes the transportation and student loan interest rate bills.
The White House held a signing ceremony that included construction workers and college students who will be affected by the bill. The bill allocates $105 billion in transportation spending over the next 27 months. This money includes critical infrastructure improvements and was cited by both parties as crucial to job creation.
The student loan portion of the bill prevented a July 1 rate doubling for new federal student loans. Reuters estimates that this rate increase would have affected around 7.4 million students.
A third portion of the bill, including provisions on flood insurance, garnered wide bipartisan support, but an individual bill was scuttled when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) insisted on attaching a "start of life" rider that defined life as beginning at conception, and would set the Congress up for an abortion-rights battle.
Congressmen largely agreed on the need to pass all three bills as their deadlines loomed, but disagreements on how to pay for the cost of the bills led to a last-minute deal.