Washington Wrap Up – February 13, 2018

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

February 13, 2018

Budget and Appropriations
The House and Senate passed legislation early this morning that among other things extends the continuing resolution (CR) through March 23. This legislation also included the recent budget deal reached by House and Senate leaders to increase the defense and non-defense spending caps by $300 billion for fiscal years (FYs) 2018 and 2019. In addition, the bill provided nearly $90 billion in disaster relief funding for States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that were hit by recent storms. As part of this disaster relief, $2.7 billion is reserved to help K-12 and postsecondary institutions and students impacted by these storms. The bill also included language to:

  • Forgive loans from HBCUs that borrowed loans under the HBCU Hurricane Supplemental Loan Program.
  • Waive cohort default rate penalties for community colleges in “economically distressed areas.”
  • Exempt schools that do not charge tuition from the new 1.4% excise tax on endowments that was recently established by the tax bill to apply to private institutions with at least 500 students and endowments worth $500,00 per student.
  • Extend account maintenance fees for student loan guaranty agencies for one year.

Please note that several items that have been included in news reports— such as an additional $4 billion in higher education funding and the additional $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant Program— where not included in the text of this bill. These increases are likely to be part of negotiations on the omnibus FY 2018 appropriations bill, and if agreed to, will likely be included in what Congressional leaders hope to be a final bill prior to or on March 23rd.

Additionally, the bill included an extension of the nation’s debt ceiling through March 2019 and extended various health care and related programs, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through 2027 and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) for five years.  Passage of this legislation ended several hours where the Federal government was technically in a curtailed period of activity often referred to as a government shutdown.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) released a statement on the budget and emergency supplemental agreement.

This week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee circulated the Committee views on H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act. This legislation is the Committee’s bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and was passed by the Committee on a party line vote in December. While the Committee did file the report on the bill with the House, the report is not publicly available yet. The Congressional Budget Office released its score of the legislation.

Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a statement on the CBO score of the GOP higher education bill.

On Thursday, House Democrats announced a new, comprehensive infrastructure plan – A Better Deal to Rebuild America.

Appropriation Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) released a statement  on the Senate budget deal/CR/disaster relief/debt ceiling legislation.

Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released a statement on the bipartisan budget deal.

On Tuesday, the 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 improving college affordability in the context of reauthorizing the HEA.

Senator Alexander (R-TN) released a statement  on making college more affordable.

Senator Murray (D-WA) released a statement on the need to address raising costs of college and massive burden of student debt.

Senate Democrats unveiled a framework for rewriting the HEA which include priorities on affordability, accountability, access and protecting the rights and safety of all students.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed a cloture motion on a bill that will be the legislative vehicle for DACA/immigration reform debates next week.

While no bipartisan agreement was reached on a legislative solution for DACA, White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly publicly stated that he would recommend that President Trump not extend the existing March 5  expiration deadline for the program.

ED’s second round of Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking was completed this week. In preparation for the four-day meeting, ED released its initial regulatory proposals on each of the eight topics covered under this effort.

ED began accepting applications for the “Student-Centered Funding Pilot,” an initiative authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).


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

Trump’s 2019 Budget Proposal and Education: What to Watch [Education Week]

In Her Words: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Assesses a Year on the Job [The New York Times]

Study finds poor economic results for students who enroll in certificate programs at for-profit institutions [Inside Higher Ed]

Educational Attainment Is Up, but Gaps Remain [Inside Higher Ed]

Lumina Foundation Report: “Tracking America’s progress toward 2025”

Food pantries, loaned textbooks and child care: California’s community colleges help needy students [EdSource]

Portland State Will Offer Free Tuition to Transfers [Inside Higher Ed]

Here’s What the $400-Billion Federal Spending Deal Means for Higher Ed [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Think tank sues Education Dept. over public records requests on college accrediting bodies [The Washington Post]

Accreditors tighten scrutiny of low graduation rates [Inside Higher Ed]

C-RAC Report: A One-Year Review of the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions’ Graduation Rate Information Project

Education Department to Propose Compromise in Borrower-Defense Negotiations [Inside Higher Ed]

DeVos’s Education Dept. Relaxed Rules for For-Profits Under Accreditor That Closed [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Higher ed groups criticize House GOP’s financial aid bill as lawmakers corral support [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:

House Education and the Workforce Committee
Press Release: Democratic Education Leaders Call for Inspector General Investigation of Education Department’s Use of Private Collection Agencies

Press Release: Scott: CBO Confirms GOP Higher Education Bill is a $15 Billion Raid on Student Aid

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Alexander on Making College More Affordable: Simplify Loans, Cut Red Tape, Encourage Innovation and Accountability

Press Release: Higher Education Act: Murray Highlights Need to Address Rising Costs of College and Massive Burden of Student Debt

House Committee on the Budget
Press Release: Chairman Womack Statement on Passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act

Press Release: Chairman Womack: “We are committed to writing a budget”

Senate Committee on Appropriations
Press Release: Cochran: Cooperative, Bipartisan Effort Needed to Complete FY2018 Appropriations

Press Release: Senate Floor Statement Of Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Leahy On The Bipartisan Budget Deal

Press Release: Legislation Introduced to Fund Government through March 23

Press Release: Links to Budget Agreement Text, CR Summary, Disaster Relief Summary

House Committee on Appropriations
Press Release: House Passes Continuing Resolution to Prevent Government Shutdown and Fund National Defense

Press Release: Chairman Frelinghuysen Introduces Resolution to Continue Government Operations and Prevent a Shutdown

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
White House Press Release: President Donald J. Trump Announces Appointments for the Executive Office of the President

ED Blog: Educator Self-Care Is Social Emotional Learning

IES Report: National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016 Data File User’s Manual

IES Report: First-Generation Students: College Access, Persistence, and Postbachelor’s Outcomes

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
H.R.1301 — Continuing Appropriations Amendments Act, 2018
Sponsor: Rep. Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. [R-NJ-11] (Introduced 03/02/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Appropriations, Budget
Latest Action:  02/09/2018 Became Public Law No: 115-124.

H.R.1892 — Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018
Sponsor: Rep. Larson, John B. [D-CT-1] (Introduced 04/04/2017) Cosponsors: (16)
Committees: House – Judiciary | Senate – Judiciary Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-119
Latest Action:  02/09/2018 Became Public Law No: 115-123.
Notes: Continuing appropriations through 3/23/2018.

H.R.2579 — Broader Options for Americans Act
Sponsor: Rep. Tiberi, Patrick J. [R-OH-12] (Introduced 05/19/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Ways and Means Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-160
Latest Action:  Senate – 02/09/2018 Cloture motion on the motion to proceed to the consideration of the measure presented in Senate.
Notes: This measure is expected to be the vehicle for immigration legislation.

S.Res.400 — A resolution designating the week beginning February 11, 2018, as “National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week”.
Sponsor: Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND] (Introduced 02/09/2018) Cosponsors: (22)
Latest Action:  Senate – 02/09/2018 Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

H.R.4508 — PROSPER Act
Sponsor: Rep. Foxx, Virginia [R-NC-5] (Introduced 12/01/2017) Cosponsors: (21)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action:  House – 02/08/2018 Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 413.

S.2407 — A bill to establish a career pathway grant program.
Sponsor: Sen. Hassan, Margaret Wood [D-NH] (Introduced 02/08/2018) Cosponsors: (3)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 02/08/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release: Senator Hassan Introduces Gateway to Careers Act to Expand Opportunity and Help Innovative Businesses Thrive

H.Res.730 — Supporting the goals and ideals of Career and Technical Education Month.
Sponsor: Rep. Langevin, James R. [D-RI-2] (Introduced 02/07/2018) Cosponsors: (39)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action:  House – 02/07/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Press Release: Langevin, Thompson Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Recognizing National Career and Technical Education Month

S.2390 — A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to support community college and industry partnerships, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL] (Introduced 02/07/2018) Cosponsors: (3)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 02/07/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release: Duckworth, Smith, Feinstein and Kaine Introduce Legislation To Train Students For High-Skill Jobs

S.2394 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ensure that public institutions of higher education protect expressive activities in the outdoor areas on campus.
Sponsor: Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT] (Introduced 02/07/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 02/07/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release: Hatch Introduces Bill to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

H.R.1809 — Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. Lewis, Jason [R-MN-2] (Introduced 03/30/2017) Cosponsors: (23)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-111
Latest Action:  Senate – 02/06/2018 Read twice. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 303.

H.R.4942 — To require the Secretary of Labor to award grants for promoting industry or sector partnerships to encourage industry growth and competitiveness and to improve worker training, retention, and advancement.
Sponsor: Rep. Mitchell, Paul [R-MI-10] (Introduced 02/06/2018) Cosponsors: (2)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
Latest Action:  House – 02/06/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Comment Request: Application for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Comments due by April 13, 2018.

ED Comment Request: State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) Program Application (1894-0001). Comments due by March 14, 2018.

ED Notice: Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs

ED Meeting Notice: National Assessment Governing Board. The Quarterly Board Meeting will be held on the following dates: March 1, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; March 2, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; March 3, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at the Watergate Hotel, 2650 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037.

ED Comment Request: College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) 2018-2020. Comments due by March 12, 2018.

IES Report: Preparing for Life after High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education. Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012. Volume 3: Comparisons Over Time

IES Report: Trends in Algebra II completion and failure rates for students entering Texas public high schools