Washington Wrap Up – July 25, 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 Committee marked up the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill, which passed on a party-line vote. Overall, the bill cuts U.S. Department of Education (ED) spending by $2.4 billion and cuts U.S. Department of Labor spending by $1.3 billion compared to FY2017.

House Republican leadership is no longer considering moving an omnibus appropriations bill and is instead considering moving a package of appropriations bills that would include U.S. Department of Defense, Military Construction and other security-related bills.

The House Budget Committee introduced and marked up their FY2018 budget resolution. The resolution includes reconciliation instructions calling on other House Committees to pass legislation producing $203 billion in mandatory savings in total. Of this total, the resolution instructs the House Education and the Workforce Committee to produce $20 billion in savings over 10 years. The resolution passed on a party-line vote.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and 121 House Democrats sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee expressing opposition to the proposed rescission of $3.3 billion in previously appropriated Pell Grant funding in the FY2018 LHHS appropriations bill.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (H.R. 3218), which expands the GI bill to offer a lifetime window for college tuition assistance.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would “defer consideration” of the Senate Republican’s updated version of their bill to modify the Affordable Care Act (ACA) following news that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would be absent due to surgery. Last Monday, Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced that they would not vote to begin debate on the Senate Republican’s healthcare bill, joining Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in opposition. Senator McConnell then announced that the Senate would consider a bill to repeal the ACA after a two-year delay. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Susan Collins announced that they would not vote to consider a repeal-only bill. Nonetheless, the Senate is expected to begin the process of attempting to consider a version of the Senate’s ACA replacement legislation (with a possible amendment to completely repeal the ACA) this week.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement supporting the nominations of Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to serve on the National Labor Relations Board.

Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter the ED Secretary Betsy DeVos calling for the removal of Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson from her position following the comments she made regarding campus sexual assault survivors.

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also sent a letter to ED Secretary DeVos calling for the removal of Acting Assistant Secretary Jackson from her position.


ED Secretary DeVos stated that “Candice is a valuable part of the Administration and an unwavering advocate for the civil rights of all students.”

The Office of Management and Budget announced that it was pulling or suspending 860 pending regulations as part of the Administration’s larger unified agenda aimed at easing Federal restrictions on the private sector.

The White House announced that they support the Federal Communications Commission Chairman’s efforts to review and consider rolling back “net neutrality” policies.

ED Secretary DeVos delivered remarks at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with summaries of the following events next week:

  • July 26: House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology Subcommittee Hearing: “STEM and Computer Science Education: Preparing the 21st Century Workforce”

Education News Headlines

Betsy DeVos Tells a Top Critic: Obama Civil Rights Approach ‘Harmed Students’ [Education Week]

As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away [The New York Times]

Student Debt May Be Reducing Home Ownership [Inside Higher Ed]

House Republicans at odds with Trump’s proposed higher education cuts [The Washington Post]

Number of colleges and universities drops sharply amid economic turmoil [Inside Higher Ed]

Student loan company protests DeVos’s decision [The Washington Post]

Student Borrowing Rises, Sallie Mae Says [Inside Higher Ed]

Now for the hard part: translating vision for community colleges into student success [EdSource]

Ted Mitchell, Obama’s point man on higher education, to head industry trade group [The Washington Post]

Most Colleges Did Not Change Aid Deadlines in Response to Early FAFSA [Inside Higher Ed]

GOP budget would mean billions in cuts for higher ed [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule for House and Senate Floor

House Education and the Workforce Committee
July 26: Subcommittee Hearing: “Expanding Options for Employers and Workers Through Earn-and-Learn Opportunities”
Witnesses: to be announced
10:00 a.m. in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building or webcast

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration

ED Media Advisory: U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees to be Honored

IES Report: Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2016-17; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2015-16; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2015-16: First Look (Preliminary Data)

Legislative Movement in Congress

H.R.3272 — To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a grant program to provide Veteran Student Centers at institutions of higher education to assist veterans in the pursuit of higher education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frankel, Lois [D-FL-21] (Introduced 07/17/2017) Cosponsors: (3)
Committees: House – Veterans’ Affairs
Latest Action: 07/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

H.R.3306 — To authorize a national grant program for on-the-job training.
Sponsor: Rep. Crowley, Joseph [D-NY-14] (Introduced 07/19/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action: 07/19/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Press Release: Chairman Crowley Announces the Reintroduction of On-The-Job Training Act

H.Res.459 — Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should support the development of programs that better prepare students for careers in cybersecurity by actively promoting ethical hacking skills.
Sponsor: Rep. Correa, J. Luis [D-CA-46] (Introduced 07/19/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action: 07/19/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

H.R.3346 — To provide for the refinancing and recalculation of certain Federal student loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lawson, Al, Jr. [D-FL-5] (Introduced 07/20/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce, Ways and Means
Latest Action: 07/20/2017 Referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities

ED Responses to Request for Information: Disclosures for Student Financial Accounts; Announcement of Applicable Dates

ED Comment Request: NCER-NPSAS Grant Study—Connecting Students with Financial Aid (CSFA) 2017: Testing the Effectiveness of FAFSA Interventions on College Outcomes. Comments due August 17, 2017.

ED Notice: Annual Updates to the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan Formula for 2017-William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

ED Grant Notice: Impact Aid Discretionary Construction Grant Program. Applications due September 15, 2017.