Washington Wrap Up – January 17, 2018

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



Congressional leaders met with President Trump to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. During the meeting, President Trump said the leaders must pass a legislative solution and that he would sign into law whatever bill they sent him. He also stated that he would be open to comprehensive immigration reform after a legislative solution for the DACA program is enacted. Subsequently, press outlets reported on a tentative deal on DACA and related matters reached by a bipartisan group of Senators. The White House and some Members of Congress expressed opposition to this deal.  


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has postponed an executive session to consider nominations for U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) positions. 

Newly sworn in Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and Tina Smith (D-MN) are taking the seats of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and former Senator Al Franken (D-MN) on the Senate HELP Committee.

HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement welcoming Senators Smith and Jones to the Committee.

Following reports that President Trump is considering appointing Andrew Puzder to his Administration, Ranking Member Murray released a statement opposing his appointment. Puzder is Trump’s former nominee for DOL Secretary.

The HELP Committee will hold a hearing on financial aid simplification and transparency in the context of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act on Thursday, January 18.


A Federal judge in California issued an injunction ordering the Trump Administration to “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis.” In his ruling, the judge asserted that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary has the authority to grant the temporary protection that forms the basis of the DACA program and that Dreamers must be allowed to renew their status in the program, but the government does not need to accept new applications. 

The negotiated rulemaking committee on the borrower defense to repayment (BDR) regulations held their second set of meetings last week. As part of this set of meetings, ED issued regulatory proposals revising the BDR regulations issued by the Obama Administration.

ED awarded contracts to Windham Professionals and Performant Financial Corp. to help ED collect overdue student loans.

President Trump signed an executive order (EO) entitled “Streamlining and Expediting Requests to Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America.” This EO aims to accelerate the deployment and adoption of affordable, reliable, modern high-speed broadband connectivity in rural America. Trump also published, in the Federal Register, a Memorandum for the Secretary of the Interior on the issue.

The Washington Post reported that the “Interior Department has adopted a new screening process for the discretionary grants it makes to outside groups, instructing staff to ensure those awards ‘promote the priorities’ of the Trump Administration.”


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

• January 18: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency”

Education News Headlines 

Student Sues Community College Over Free Speech Rights [Inside Higher Ed]

Republican Tax Plan Hurts Colleges in Blue States Most [Bloomberg Politics]

Why Is a College-Admissions Code of Ethics Such a Big Deal? [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Experts: Value in collecting statistics on suicide [Inside Higher Ed]

Justice Department Has Begun Investigation of Admission Association’s Ethics Code [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Not everyone needs a 4-year college, auditor’s office says, so schools should do better job with [The Seattle Times]

Few Details on Tougher Borrower-Relief Standards [Inside Higher Ed]

What Congress Hasn’t Finished or Started: Data Privacy, Career-Tech, and Special Ed. Law [Education Week]

New book argues most colleges are about to face significant decline in prospective students [Inside Higher Ed]

As college costs keep rising for students, so does presidential pay. Could that change? [The Washington Post]

Despite a wealth of qualified candidates, America’s companies can’t seem to fill their job openings. LinkedIn has a solution—will it work? [The Atlantic]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Alexander: President Trump is Right to Be Focused on the Needs of Rural Tennessee, Tennessee Farmers

Senate Committee on the Budget 
Press Release: Enzi Welcomes Senator Cotton to Budget Committee

House Committee on the Budget
Press Release: Steve Womack Named Chairman of the House Budget Committee

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration 

ED Final Regulations: The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, the Research Fellowships program, the Special Projects and Demonstrations for Spinal Cord Injuries program, the State Independent Living Services program, and the Centers for Independent Living program.

DOL Press Release: U.S. Department of Labor Clarifies When Interns Working At For-Profit Employers Are Subject To The Fair Labor Standards Act  

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

Legislative Movement in Congress 

H.R.4760 — To amend the immigration laws and the homeland security laws, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Goodlatte, Bob [R-VA-6] (Introduced 01/10/2018) Cosponsors: (16)
Committees: House – Judiciary, Education and the Workforce, Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Armed Services, Oversight and Government Reform, Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources
Latest Action:  House – 01/11/2018 Referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

S.2294 — A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to ensure that individuals may access documentation verifying the monthly housing stipend paid to the individual under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sponsor: Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] (Introduced 01/11/2018) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: Senate – Veterans’ Affairs
Latest Action:  Senate – 01/11/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.