Washington Wrap Up – July 18, 2017

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


The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies released then approved the FY2018 Labor-HHS Education bill for submission to the full committee by a party-line vote of 9-6. The bill is a $2.4 billion reduction in spending for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and a $1.3 billion reduction in spending for the U.S. Department of Labor compared to FY2017. Of note, the bill rescinds $3.3 billion in Pell Grant funding. The full Committee markup on the legislation is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 19.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill on a vote of 31-21. The bill, which funds the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other related agencies is a decrease of $2.6 billion compared to FY2017.


Senate Republican leaders unveiled a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the GOP Leadership’s vehicle to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the nomination of Patrick Pizzella as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as the nomination of Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would stay in session the first two weeks in August, delaying the traditional summer Congressional recess. House leaders reportedly told House members that they are unlikely to follow the Senate’s recess delay, but may call members back to vote on any health care legislation passed by the Senate.


Justice Department attorneys argued that a group of nine Democratic attorneys general should not be allowed to weigh in on the lawsuit filed by a California association representing for-profit colleges over ED Secretary Betsy DeVos’ delay of the Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) regulations.

ED held two day-long public hearings to receive feedback and begin the process of rewriting higher education regulations on gainful employment and BDR.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said during a meeting with Democrats of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he could not commit to the administration defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

ED Secretary DeVos met with sexual assault survivors, students who say they were falsely accused of violence and college officials in three listening sessions to discuss the impact of ED’s Title IX campus sexual assault guidance. After these meetings, Secretary DeVos indicated that ED is likely to consider changes to existing requirements on universities in this area.


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

  • July 19 House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies hearing: “FY18 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill”

Education News Headlines

Democratic Senators, Tri-Caucus to Betsy DeVos: Protect Students’ Civil Rights [Education Week]

Trump changes higher ed with rollback of Obama-era consumer protections [The Washington Post]

President Trump: Cutting financial aid won’t Make America Great Again [The Hill]

Perspective | New rankings tackle old problem: Measuring the outcome of college [The Washington Post]

Support builds for expanding Pell eligibility to short-term certificates [Inside Higher Ed]

Watch This Refresher on Trump’s Education Budget in Under 60 Seconds [Education Week]

New Report Examines Year-Round Pell Effects on 2-Year Students [Inside Higher Ed]

House bill would shield indirect research costs, increase NIH and college prep programs [Inside Higher Ed]

Ed. Dept. Official Apologizes for ‘90%’ Remark on Campus Rape. What’s the Research? [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

DeVos: Too many college students have been treated unfairly under Obama-era sexual assault policy [The Washington Post]

Committee News and Schedule for House and Senate Floor
House Education and the Workforce Committee
Press Release: Democrats Unveil Legislation to Expand Access to Higher Ed for Students with Disabilities

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Murray: DeVos’ Actions on Campus Sexual Assault Could Allow Schools to Once Again “Sweep Sexual Assault Under the Rug”

House Committee on Appropriations 
Press Release: Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Funding Bill

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration
ED Blogs: Something Borrowed: How Marriage Impacts Your Student Loans

ED Press Release: Secretary DeVos to Host Title IX Listening Sessions

Legislative Movement in Congress
H.R.3174 — To direct the Secretary of Labor to enter into contracts with industry intermediaries for purposes of promoting the development of and access to apprenticeships in the technology sector, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Moulton, Seth [D-MA-6] (Introduced 07/10/2017) Cosponsors: (3)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action: 07/10/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Press Release: Moulton Brings Together Local Business Leaders to Announce CHANCE in Tech Act

S.1521 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reduce the interest rate caps for Federal Direct student loans, to eliminate loan origination fees on all Federal Direct student loans, and to provide for refinancing of Federal Direct student loans and Federal family education loans.
Sponsor: Sen. Nelson, Bill [D-FL] (Introduced 07/10/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action: 07/10/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

S.1525 — A bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to review and score TRIO applications with minor budgeting errors.
Sponsor: Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV] (Introduced 07/11/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action: 07/11/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release:  Manchin Introduces Legislation to Allow West Virginia Colleges to Resubmit TRIO Applications

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices
ED Comment Request: 2017-18 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study Administrative Collection. Comments due September 11, 2017.

ED Comment Request: 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Comments due August 14, 2017.

ED Comment Request: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, Federal Direct PLUS Loan Request for Supplemental Information. Comments due August 14, 2017.