Washington Wrap Up – January 23, 2018

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



The Federal government is currently shutdown, but Senate action today began the process of lifting this shutdown. On Thursday, the House passed a bill to extend the previous continuing resolution (CR) to February 16. The shutdown occurred because the Senate did not take any action on the legislation prior to midnight on Friday, January 19. This afternoon, the Senate voted to move forward on a version of the House bill that extends the January 19 CR through February 8. The House will still need to take action on this legislation prior to it being sent to the White House.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly met with Members of Congress, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but no agreements have been announced.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office to request a report on sexual harassment by federally funded researchers, specifically looking at NIH, NSF, USDA, DOE and NASA.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) issued a statement opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to create a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the Office for Civil Rights.


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to explore financial aid simplification and transparency in the context of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). The HELP Committee will also hold a hearing on HEA access and innovation on Thursday, January 25.

The Senate Finance Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Alex Azar as Secretary of HHS to the full Senate. The vote was 15 to 12, largely along party lines.

The Senate HELP Committee voted to favorably report nominees for U.S. Department of Education (ED) positions, including Mick Zais to be Deputy Secretary, Kenneth Marcus to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and Jim Blew to be Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it is appealing the Federal judge’s ruling that ordered the Trump Administration to “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis.” DOJ also sought a Supreme Court review of the judge’s ruling.

ED Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a memo to ED staff on handling a government shutdown. The memo states that more than 90 percent of total staff would be furloughed during the first week of a shutdown.

ED published a searchable database of all civil rights cases currently under investigation at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools, which ED will update monthly.

The U.S. Department of Labor Taskforce on Apprenticeship Expansion will meet virtually on February 6.


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

  • January 25: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Access and Innovation”
  • January 25: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Nomination of Frank T. Brogan to be Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education”

Education News Headlines

Colleges Are Key Players in Cities’ Bids to Host Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Department of Education Publishes List of Active Civil Rights Investigations [Inside Higher Ed]

In rural America, students of color appear to have lost interest in attending college in recent years [The Atlantic]

Teacher Ed. Group Calls for More High-Quality Student Teaching [Education Week]

Government shutdown threat remains with divisions over immigration, military dollars [The Chicago Tribune]

Former Obama administration officials are being named college presidents [Inside Higher Ed]

College presidents building relationships with campus conservatives [Inside Higher Ed]

The Biggest Problem for State Higher-Ed Policy? Federal Higher-Ed Policy [The Chronicle of Higher Education]
AASCU Report: Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2018

Black Colleges Swept Up in For-Profit Crackdown Find Relief From DeVos [The New York Times]

#MeToo is bringing attention to issues that colleges have been reckoning with for years [The Atlantic]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Murray to Oppose President Trump’s Latest Ideological Choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services

Documents and webcast of yesterday’s Full Committee Hearing: Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency

Senate Committee on Appropriations
Press Release: Cochran: Continuing Resolution Approval Sets Stage for Progress on Budget, National Priorities

House Committee on the Budget
Press Release: Introducing House Budget Chairman Steve Womack

U.S. Department of Labor

DOL Press Release: Statement By U.S. Secretary of Labor Acosta on Tax Reform

Legislative Movement in Congress

H.R.4794 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit unborn children to be account beneficiaries of section 529 education savings accounts.
Sponsor: Rep. Noem, Kristi L. [R-SD-At Large] (Introduced 01/16/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Ways and Means
Latest Action:  House – 01/16/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Press Release: Noem Introduces Bill Enabling Parents to Save for Unborn Child’s Education

H.R.4796 — To provide relief from removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States before reaching the age of 18, improve border security, foster United States engagement in Central America, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Hurd, Will [R-TX-23] (Introduced 01/16/2018) Cosponsors: (49)
Committees: House – Judiciary, Homeland Security, Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs
Latest Action:  House – 01/16/2018 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Homeland Security, Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, and Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker
Press Release: Reps. Hurd, Aguilar and Denham Drive Bipartisan DACA-Border Security Solution

H.R.4818 — To prohibit the use of Federal funds made available in the form of an earmark, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosen, Jacky [D-NV-3] (Introduced 01/17/2018) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House – Oversight and Government Reform, Appropriations
Latest Action:  House – 01/17/2018 Referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committee on Appropriations, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker
Press Release: Rosen Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Prohibit Congress From Reinstating Earmarks

H.R.4830 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the disapproval of any course of education for purposes of the educational assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs unless the educational institution providing the course permits individuals to attend or participate in courses pending payment by Department, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Bilirakis, Gus M. [R-FL-12] (Introduced 01/18/2018) Cosponsors: (5)
Committees: House – Veterans’ Affairs
Latest Action:  House – 01/18/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Press Release: Bilirakis Bill Enhances Educational Benefit For Veterans

H.R.4838 — To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to direct the Secretary of Education to award institutions of higher education grants for teaching English learners.
Sponsor: Rep. Langevin, James R. [D-RI-2] (Introduced 01/18/2018) Cosponsors: (3)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action:  House – 01/18/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices

ED Final Regulations: Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties for Inflation

ED Comment Request: Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Eligibility Regulations. Comments due by February 20, 2018.