Washington Wrap Up – April 5, 2017

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



House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) respectively, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) respectively, along with 39 additional members of the Senate and House Education committees, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos asking ED to take action to help alleviate complications for students impacted by the current outage of the Internal Revenue Service’s Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT).

Ranking Members Scott and Murray released a statement in opposition to President Trump’s signing of H.J.Res 58 into law. This resolution repealed the Obama Administration’s recently promulgated rule relating to teacher preparation programs.

Chairs Foxx and Alexander, along with additional members of the Republican party, voiced their support for President Trump’s actions regarding the signing of H.J.Res 58 into law.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposals for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), at which HHS Secretary Tom Price testified.


The HELP Committee held an executive session to consider the nomination of Alexander Acosta to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Acosta to the full Senate by a vote of 12—11, along party lines.

Ranking Member Murray and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent letters to ED requesting information regarding ED aide Robert Eitel’s involvement at ED while on a leave of absence from his position as Vice President of Bridgepoint Education, Inc.


The Trump Administration released a set of specific proposals to cut FY 2017 spending, which includes reductions to ED’s budget totaling $3 billion, with $1.3 billion coming out of the Pell Grant program surplus. Key Democratic and Republican Appropriations Committee members voiced their concerns regarding President Trump’s proposed FY17 budget cuts, including Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Tom Cole (R-OK).

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, a Federal Judge from Hawaii who issued a nation-wide restraining order on President Trump’s revised executive order (EO) on immigration, extended his temporary order to halt implementation of the EO. This extension came after the U.S. Department of Justice asked the Judge to narrow his ruling to only apply to travel from certain Muslim countries.

President Trump signed into law H.J.Res 58.

ED issued a statement saying that the IRS DRT would likely not be available until the start of the next filing season.

The Trump Administration defended the gainful-employment rule in Federal court in a lawsuit filed in February by the American Association of Cosmetology Schools that attempts to block the rule and argues that gainful-employment data undercounted income of cosmetology program graduates.

ED Secretary DeVos delivered remarks to the Brookings Institution.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with a summary of the following event next week:

  • April 4: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing on “Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs”

Education News Headlines

Report: Public Money Skews Gainful-Employment Rule [Inside Higher Ed]

Here’s a Map of ‘Free College’ Programs Nationwide [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Trump budget cuts could hit research universities hard, Moody’s warns [The Washington Post]

Wages earnings increase significantly for associate-degree holders [Inside Higher Ed]
Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment Report: “The Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate College: A Review”

DeVos Last in Approval Rating Among a Selection of Trump Officials, Poll Says [Education Week]

Study: Income-Based Repayment Reduced Defaults [Inside Higher Ed]
National Bureau of Economic Research Study: “Students In Distress: Labor Market Shocks, Student Loan Default, and Federal Insurance Programs”

Coding schools build tuition-back guarantees into business model [The Wall Street Journal]

Op-Ed: In Trump’s budget: The unwisest cut [The Washington Post]

In First College Visit, DeVos Praises Career Prep and Community Colleges [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Academic and research librarians begin work to avert cuts to federal library funding [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor

House Education and the Workforce Committee
Documents and webcast of yesterday’s Subcommittee Hearing: “Examining the Corporation for National and Community Service and Its Failed Oversight of Taxpayer Dollars”

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
Documents of yesterday’s Full Committee Hearing: “Closing the Skills Gap and Boosting U.S. Competitiveness”

Press Release: Thune Statement on FCC Decision to Return Lifeline Program Authority to States

House Committee on Appropriations 
Documents and webcast of yesterday’s Subcommittee Hearing: “Budget Hearing: Corporation for Public Broadcasting”

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration
U.S. Department of Education

  • Press Release: Statement from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

White House

  • Press Release: President Donald J. Trump Announces the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI)

Legislative Movement in Congress

H.R.1772 — To authorize the creation of a commission to develop voluntary accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related technologies used in postsecondary education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1] (Introduced 03/29/2017) Cosponsors: (7)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action: 03/29/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Press Release: Roe & Courtney Reintroduce Bill to Ensure Equal Access to Electronic Materials and Technology at Higher Education Institutions

H.R.1793 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the enrollment of veterans in certain courses of education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13] (Introduced 03/29/2017) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House – Veterans’ Affairs, Armed Services
Latest Action: 03/29/2017 Referred to House Armed Services

H.R.1798 — To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to promote and encourage collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs and nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning that provide administrative assistance to veterans.
Sponsor: Rep. Wittman, Robert J. [R-VA-1] (Introduced 03/29/2017) Cosponsors: (2)
Committees: House – Veterans’ Affairs
Latest Action: 03/29/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Press Release: Wittman Introduces Series of Veterans Bills

S.736 — A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for collegiate housing and infrastructure grants.
Sponsor: Sen. Enzi, Michael B. [R-WY] (Introduced 03/27/2017) Cosponsors: (8)
Committees: Senate – Finance
Latest Action: 03/27/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

H.R.1767 —To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to discontinue certain administrative cost allowances, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Russell, Steve [R-OK-5] (Introduced 03/28/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action: 03/28/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

S.749 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require the disclosure of the annual percentage rates applicable to Federal student loans.
Sponsor: Sen. Enzi, Michael B. [R-WY] (Introduced 03/28/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action: 03/28/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release: Enzi introduces student lending transparency measures


Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices

ED Comment Request: Application for the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program. Comments due April 26, 2017.

ED Comment Request: The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Annual Performance Report (APR). Comments due May 30, 2017.

Veterans Affairs Notice: Increase in the Post-9/11 GI Bill maximum tuition and fee amounts payable and the increase in the amount used to determine an individual’s entitlement charge for reimbursement of a licensing, certification, or national test for the 2017-2018 academic year