Washington Wrap Up — February 16, 2016

Below is an abridged version of RAMC’s weekly Washington Wrap Up. Find out more about Wrap Up and other RAMC resources here.

Last Week in Congress and the Administration


The House passed H.R. 3293, the Scientific Research in the National Interest Act, by a vote of 236 to 178. The bill would require each National Science Foundation grant award to be accompanied by a non-technical explanation of how the project serves the national interest. The Senate has not taken action on this bill.

The House passed H.R. 2360, the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act, by a voice vote. The bill would require non-accredited programs to meet certain standards, such as state certification or board requirements, in order to qualify for GI Bill funds. This bill has been introduced in the Senate and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.


Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said the HELP Committee will hold six oversight hearings throughout the year on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


The Obama Administration submitted its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request to Congress, totaling $4.1 trillion. The budget request proposes $69.4 billion in discretionary spending for ED, which is an increase of $1.3 billion, or 2 percent, over the FY2016 level. The request maintains proposals from past budgets to provide, through mandatory funding, tuition-free community college and state Pre-K programs. The budget seeks to expand the Pell Grant program through the reinstatement of Summer Pell and the establishment of a Pell “bonus” for taking 15 credit hours a semester. Lastly, the budget seeks to revert the 90/10 rule to 85/15 with the U.S. Department of Defense and veterans benefits counting as federal funds for the purposes of this rule.


President Obama announced his intent to nominate John King as Secretary of Education. His nomination must be approved by the Senate; HELP Committee Chairman Alexander has previously stated his commitment to a speedy consideration of King’s nomination.

ED announced the formation of a Student Aid Enforcement Unit to respond to allegations of illegal actions by higher education institutions. The unit will have four divisions focused on various issues related to federal funding of institutions of higher education, borrower defense and compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act).

Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]

Supreme Court’s Scalia Brought Conservative Outlook to Education Cases [Education Week]

Antonin Scalia’s Death Probably Won’t Affect ‘Fisher,’ but It Could Change the Future of Affirmative Action [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Bernie Sanders and the votes of emerging adults [The Washington Post]

Clinton: I won’t make promises I can’t keep [The Hill]

Colleges wrestle with federal laws in order to stay politically engaged [Inside Higher Ed]

New Credential Aims to Make Professors Into Better Teachers [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Obama to Officially Nominate John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary [Education Week]

Clinton Draws Attention to Feature of Her College Plan [Inside Higher Ed]

Applicants Want Mix of Old and New Technology in Recruitment, Survey Finds [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Universities will suspend classes if budget cut, commissioner says [The Times-Picayune]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor

The House and the Senate are in recess this week and scheduled to return next week.

House Education and the Workforce Committee
Press Release: Scott Applauds President Obama’s Nomination of John King for U.S. Secretary of Education

Press Release: Kline on President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Proposal

Press Release: Scott Statement on President Obama’s 2017 Budget Proposal

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Alexander Statement on Nomination of King as Education Secretary

Press Release: Higher Ed: Murray Continues Push for College Affordability, Helping More Students Pursue Higher Education

Press Release: Higher Ed: Murray Pushes for FAFSA Simplification for Students Struggling with Homelessness

Press Release: Democratic Lawmakers Urge Federal Trade Commission to Take Action to Stop Harmful, Fraudulent ‘Conversion Therapy’ for LGBT Youth

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration

White House

  • Blog: President Obama’s Final Budget: Innovating for a Better Future

Department of Education:

  • Blog: Equity and Excellence in the President’s Budget for Education
  • Blog: The FY2017 Budget Request for Education Aims to Increase College Access, Affordability, and Completion
  • Blog: The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget: Promoting Greater Use of Evidence and Data as a Lever for Advancing Equity

Department of Labor:

  • Blog: The Promise of Worker-Ownership
  • Blog: DOL in Action
  • Blog: Conscious Capitalism for the Next Generation of Business Leaders

Institute of Education Sciences:

  • Report: First Year Experience Courses for Students in Developmental Education

Legislative Movement in Congress

H.R.295: To reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Preservation program.
Sponsor: Rep Clyburn, James E. [SC-6] (introduced 1/13/2015) Cosponsors (45)
Committees: House Natural Resources
Latest Major Action: 2/11/2016 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Subcommittee Hearings Held

H.R.3293: Scientific Research in the National Interest Act
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] (introduced 7/29/2015) Cosponsors (22)
Committees: House Science, Space, and Technology; Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
House Reports: 114-412
Latest Major Action: 2/11/2016 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.4533: To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make technical improvements to the Net Price Calculator system so that prospective students may have a more accurate understanding of the true cost of college.
Sponsor: Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] (introduced 2/11/2016) Cosponsors (1)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 2/11/2016 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

S.2557: A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to repeal the suspension of eligibility for grants, loans, and work assistance for drug-related offenses.
Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 2/11/2016) Cosponsors (1)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 2/11/2016 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

S.RES.367: A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Career and Technical Education Month.
Sponsor: Sen Kaine, Tim [VA] (introduced 2/9/2016) Cosponsors (20)
Latest Major Action: 2/9/2016 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

S.RES.369: A resolution affirming the importance of student data privacy and recognizing Digital Learning Day.
Sponsor: Sen Daines, Steve [MT] (introduced 2/9/2016) Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 2/9/2016 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices

ED Comment Request: Enterprise Complaint System. Comments due March 17, 2016.

ED Grant Notice: Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs. Applications due April 15, 2016.

CNCS Comment Request: National Service Trust Voucher and Payment Request Form/National Service Trust Manual Payment Request Form. Comments due April 12, 2016.