Congress: Senate confirms ATF chief

The Hill: “Long-running Republican tensions over the Ryan budget’s deep spending cuts boiled over Wednesday as the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee accused his party of being unable to support them. In a blistering statement, Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ with his leadership’s decision to pull the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill from the floor. Leadership said they simply ran out of time — but Rogers charged that wasn’t the real reason. He hinted that a vote on the measure was scrapped because leaders didn’t have the votes to support the deep cuts he was directed to write, and accused Republicans of effectively abandoning House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget.”

Roll Call: “On domestic spending, it’s been assumed all year that the two halves of Congress were on a collision course. What came as a stunning surprise was how the appropriations process crashed in the House on Wednesday — or, as those with knowledge of congressional lingo can appreciate best — how it landed with a thud.”

“In a tense, cliffhanger vote Wednesday, Democrats barely beat back a GOP-led filibuster of Cincinnati-native Byron Todd Jones to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Senate confirmed him to be the agency's first permanent director in seven years,” USA Today writes. More: “The drama began early in the tally, as the GOP 'no' votes piled up and Jones' supporters gathered around Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in the well of the Senate. Their voices were inaudible, but the goal was clear: getting her to switch from no to yes. The Murkowski confab soon moved off the Senate floor, but about an hour into the roll call, the Alaska Republican reappeared and changed her vote.”

More: “Democrats then held the vote open for another four hours so that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who had been out of town, could race back to Washington and cast the final 'yes' needed to reach 60.” He won confirmation 53-42 with Mark Kirk being the only Republican to vote for him. And: “Jones' win on Wednesday marks the first time the Senate has ever approved a nominee to the agency.” Confirmation became required in 2006.

USA Today: “The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday to roll back a July 1 jump in student loan interest rates and reduce the borrowing costs for millions of students. The bill, passed by the Senate last week, now goes to President Obama for his signature. The legislation links student loan interest rates to the financial markets, offering lower rates for most students now but higher ones down the line if the economy improves as forecast.”

Roll Call looks at 10 Republicans who could be the next speaker. 

DCCC Chair Steve Israel in an op-ed: “The only obstacles to finally fixing our broken immigration system are Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans. If House Republicans fail to act, voters who care about this issue -- especially our growing Hispanic population -- will know they can't count on House Republicans.”