Washington Wrap Up – January 30, 2018

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


January 30, 2018


The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on protecting privacy and promoting evidence based policy-making on Tuesday, January 30.


Last Monday, the Senate and House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would keep the Federal government operating through February 8, 2018 as well as extending funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for six years and delay several health care related taxes. This action took place after the previous CR expired on Friday, January 19, leading to a period of curtailed operations commonly referred to as a government shutdown.

As part of the agreement to pass the February 8 CR, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated his intent to hold a vote on a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and border security bill if the Federal government remains funded and no such bill has passed by that date.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held one in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing focused on innovation in higher education and included a discussion on short-term credentials, competency-based education and using third parties of provide instruction and learning services through institutions of higher education (IHEs).

Alex Azar was confirmed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a 55 to 43 vote with six Democrats voting in favor of his nomination.

Sen. Murray released a statement opposing Alex Azar’s Nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The HELP Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Frank Brogan, former Lieutenant Governor of Florida, to be the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

The HELP Committee will hold a hearing on accountability and risk to taxpayers in the context of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act on Tuesday, January 30.

Senator Schumer (D-NY) expressed his opposition to the Administration’s immigration framework.


SurvJustice, Equal Rights Advocates and the Victim Rights Law Center filed a lawsuit over temporary Title IX guidelines issued last year by ED and the rescinding by the Trump Administration of related guidance issued by the Obama Administration.

ED released its 2018 Gainful Employment template for IHEs to use when reporting on programs covered by the Gainful Employment Regulation.

President Trump made several DACA-related announcements last week. First, he indicated that he may provide Congress additional time to pass DACA related legislation if a bill is not approved by the March 5 DACA expiration deadline. In addition, President Trump expressed his support for a 10 to 12 year path to citizenship for DACA participants. Related to these matters, the White House announced that it intends to release a “framework” on DACA and border security issues on Monday, January 29th.  Press reports have indicated that this framework will call for a path to citizenship for DACA participants, a $25 billion fund for a border wall and other border security upgrades, and limiting the ability of U.S. citizens to petition for residency status to spouses and minor children.

Secretary DeVos approved six ESSA State plans.

Kent Talbert joined ED as Senior Policy Advisor on Tuesday, January 23. He will be Acting Deputy Secretary at ED until an individual is confirmed by the Senate for this position.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a study on the U.S. accreditation system.

President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30.

ED announced the formation of a “Strategy and Transformation Unit” to improve the delivery of financial aid.  Current Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer A. Wayne Johnson will head the new unit. James Manning, the current acting Under Secretary, will lead FSA as Acting Chief Operating Officer.

ED published a notice in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of the changes made to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects promulgated by the Obama Administration.

Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]

Trump’s State of the Union Address and Education: What to Watch For [Education Week]

New Leadership at Federal Student Aid [Inside Higher Ed]

Top Official at Justice Dept. Says More Colleges Should Punish Hecklers [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Gov. Brown promotes $100 million online community college but faculty concerns remain [EdSource]

Senate moves forward with ambitious schedule for Higher Ed Act [Inside Higher Ed]

Outlook for Higher Ed in 2018 Is Bleak, Ratings Agency Says [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

A.A. Degrees and the Labor Market [Inside Higher Ed]

AEI Report: Saving the Associate of Arts Degree: How an A.A. Degree Can Become a Better Path to Labor Market Success

New GAO Report on Accreditation System [Inside Higher Ed]

Lawsuit challenges Trump’s rollback of guidance on campus sexual violence [The Washington Post]

Trump administration further weakens rule to regulate career-training programs [The Washington Post]

Shutdown ends after Democrats agree to trust that McConnell will allow ‘dreamer’ vote [The Washington Post]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Alexander: Frank Brogan Is an “Impressive” Nominee Who Will Oversee Education Law That Restores More Freedom to States

Press Release: Higher Education Act: Murray Calls for Expanding Access to Higher Education for Underrepresented and Nontraditional Students

Press Release: Alexander: Congress Should Create Environment That Allows Colleges to be as Versatile as Today’s Students

Press Release: Sen. Murray Opposes Alex Azar’s Nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services; Urges Colleagues to Join

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Press Release: Smith Appoints Abraham Chairman of Oversight Subcommittee, Appoints New Vice Chairs

Senate Committee on Appropriations
Press Release: Statement Of Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Trump Shutdown

Press Release: Leahy Statement On The Need For A Bipartisan Agreement

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
White House Press Release: Press Briefing by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short on the Government Shutdown

White House Press Release: White House Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security

ED Press Release: Secretary DeVos Forms New Strategy and Transformation Office at FSA

ED Press Release: Ken Talbert Joins Department of Education as Senior Policy Advisor

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
S.2339 — A bill to amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for automatic continuing resolutions.
Sponsor: Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY] (Introduced 01/25/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Appropriations
Latest Action:  Senate – 01/25/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.
Press Release: Dr. Rand Paul Introduces the Government Shutdown Prevention Act

S.2342 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to create an innovation zone initiative, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Young, Todd C. [R-IN] (Introduced 01/25/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 01/25/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release: Young Introduces Innovation Zone Act to Promote Advancement in Higher Education

S.2344 — A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize additional visas for well-educated aliens to live and work in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT] (Introduced 01/25/2018) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: Senate – Judiciary
Latest Action:  Senate – 01/25/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Press Release: Hatch, Flake Introduce Merit-Based, High-Skilled Immigration Bill for the 21st Century

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices: 
ED Comment Request: Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects: Delay of the Revisions to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. Comments due by March 19, 2018.

ED Grant Notice: Lead of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Network: Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Education Policy and Practice Program. Request for Applications Available: January 22, 2018. Applications Available: February 15, 2018. Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: February 15, 2018. Application due April 5, 2018.