Washington Wrap Up – November 28, 2017

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


Five Ranking Members of House Committees sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric Hargan regarding HHS’s Request for Information entitled, “Removing Barriers for Religious and Faith-Based Organizations to Participate in HHS Programs and Receive Public Funding.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) released chairman’s marks for the four remaining fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations bills the Committee has not yet marked up – Interior, Homeland Security, Defense and Financial Services. These bills are intended to round out the Senate positions for negotiations over a final FY2018 omnibus appropriations bill.

The Senate Finance Committee released the text and score of their tax cut legislation. The bill is expected to be considered on the Senate Floor this week. A number of Republican Members continue to be concerned about the bill.

Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called for a bipartisan budget deal.


The U.S. Department of Education restored Pell Grant eligibility to nearly 300,000 students who had attended 841 institutions that closed from 2001 to 2016, including the Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes.

The White House requested $44 billion in additional aid for hurricane relief, including providing $1.2 billion for an education recovery fund, and made suggestions to offset the spending, such as rescinding $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant program’s surplus.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray announced that he would resign this month.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released his proposal to repeal the net neutrality rules.

Diane Auer Jones has joined the U.S. Department of Labor as a senior policy adviser. Jones served as Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education in the George W. Bush Administration.

The CFPB reviewed student loan servicing activities of Citibank and found that Citibank owed $3.75 million to consumers and another $2.75 million for civil penalty for student loan servicing failures it said led to incorrect late fees and interest charges.


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

  • November 28: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Examining Proposals to Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)”
  • November 29: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing: “Nomination of Alex Azar to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services”

Education News Headlines
FCC Reportedly Poised to Strike Down ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules [Education Week]

Financial aid officers say the government must stop charging fees to borrow money for college [The Washington Post]

Senate Panel Would Fund NEH, NEA at 2017 Levels [Inside Higher Ed]

The Push for Education Programs That Pay People As They Learn [The Atlantic]

Op-Ed: Tax reform shouldn’t undermine tuition benefits [The Hill]

Hundreds of Comments Pour In on DeVos’ Priorities for Education Grants [Education Week]

Tax bill reflects rift between many Republicans and higher education [The Washington Post]

How the House GOP Tax Plan Would Affect Grad Students [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

With its tax and budget policies, the GOP is staging a massive attack on higher education in the U.S. [The Atlantic]

Op-Ed: Cutting GI education bill will impact thousands of veterans [The Hill]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor
House Education and the Workforce Committee
Blog: ICYMI: National apprenticeship week highlights company-based education options

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
November 30: Full Committee Hearing: “The Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis: Perspectives from States, Communities, and Providers:
Witnesses: to be announced
10:00 a.m. in 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building or webcast

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration

DOL Blog: Apprenticeship Helps Montana Woman Keep the Lights On

DOL Blog: More Opportunities for More Americans