Washington Wrap Up – April 7, 2020

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


April 7, 2020

The House and Senate are in recess until the week of April 20.

The Congressional Budget Office issued its cost estimate for the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that discussions over a fourth COVID-19 relief package amongst congressional Democrats have begun, including interest in including additional education- and workforce-related relief as part of the package.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) updated a questions and answers page for student borrowers related to implementation of the CARES Act (P.L.116-136) provisions pertaining to the automatic suspension of Direct Loan and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) payments for loans held by ED until September 30, 2020, with no interest accruing during the period of suspension.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of ED’s final Title IX rule.

ED published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for its competency-based education (CBE) and distance education regulations that were agreed upon during negotiated rulemaking last spring. The NPRM is now open for public comment, ending on May 4.

ED published questions and answers regarding career and technical education (CTE) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including that ED will allow States to submit their full CTE State plans after the initial April 15 deadline, by either June 15 or September 15.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos encouraged Congress to provide “microgrants” to students whose schools have been closed for at least 30 days and are either eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch or have an individualized education program to fund materials needed for home-based learning.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) extended the deadline for E-Rate service implementation for funding year 2019 special construction projects scheduled for June 30, 2020 until June 30, 2021.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) posted COVID-19 Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources that pertain to small business and nonprofit access to SBA COVID-19 related loans. In addition, SBA issued a pre-published version of an interim final rule that it will use to implement the Paycheck Protection Loan program. The rule will be effective when it is published in the Federal Register and public comments on this rule will be due 30 days after such publication.

ED has granted initial approval to all States to receive assessment waivers for the 2019-2020 school year.

Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]
Here’s What Supreme Court’s Latest Postponement Means for Education Cases [Education Week]

At home or at school, in May or in June: Advanced Placement exams will go on despite coronavirus [The Washington Post]

Scholarship program: 80 percent of student ‘Dreamers’ have lost income [The Hill]

College Made Them Feel Equal. The Virus Exposed How Unequal Their Lives Are. [The New York Times]

Financial woes of states threaten free college proposals from Biden and Sanders [Inside Higher Ed]

As Americans faced layoffs and lost wages, student loan companies kept going to court to collect [The Washington Post]

How the Coronavirus Is Prompting Higher-Ed Grantmakers to Change Course [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Borrowers, confused about coronavirus student loan relief, get little help Education Department [The Washington Post]

Community colleges get creative to survive spring, while prepping for a surge next fall [The Washington Post]

Colleges Go Test-Optional After SAT, ACT Are Called Off [National Public Radio]

Grading Students During the Coronavirus Crisis: What’s the Right Call? [Education Week]

Progressives were divided over widespread cancellation of student debt in stimulus [Inside Higher Ed]

Preparing (quietly) for a fall semester without in-person instruction [Inside Higher Ed]

Op-Ed: Coronavirus crisis spotlights the inequities in college financial aid [The Hechinger Report]

Student parents are hit doubly hard by coronavirus [Inside Higher Ed]

Faculty discuss their quick transition to online instruction [Inside Higher Ed]

Being honest with students can help prevent abrupt college closures, report says [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
Speaker of the House
Press Release: Dear Colleague to All Members on Next Steps on CARES Act and CARES 2

House Education and Labor Committee
Press Release: Democratic Health Leaders Call for Free COVID-19 Treatment for All American

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions 
Press Release: Murray, Warren, Gillibrand Urge Secretary DeVos to Halt Title IX Rule; Focus on Helping Schools During the COVID-19 Crisis

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
White House Press Release: Proclamation on Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., 2020

ED Press Release: Readout of the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 Conference Call with Higher Education Stakeholders

DOL Press Release: U.S. Department Of Labor Announces New Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family And Medical Leave Implementation

IES Report: “2018-19 Common Core of Data (CCD) Universe Files”

SBA Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
H.R.6429 — To establish in the Legislative Branch a National Commission on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic in the United States.
Sponsor: Rep. Murphy, Stephanie N. [D-FL-7] (Introduced 04/03/2020) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House – Energy and Commerce; Financial Services; Transportation and Infrastructure
Latest Action:  House – 04/03/2020 Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, and Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall…
Press Release: Murphy, Katko Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Establish 9/11-Style Commission on U.S. Pandemic Preparedness and Response

H.R.6437 — To ensure that all communities have access to urgently needed COVID-19 testing, treatment, public health information, and relief benefits regardless of immigration status or limited English proficiency, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Chu, Judy [D-CA-27] (Introduced 04/03/2020) Cosponsors: (27)
Committees: House – Energy and Commerce; Judiciary; Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and Means
Latest Action:  House – 04/03/2020 Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions…
Press Release: Chu, Hirono, Harris, Grijalva, Correa Introduce Legislation to Provide Critical Assistance to Vulnerable Communities Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

H.R.6442 — To provide Americans with paid sick time and paid leave so that they can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families.
Sponsor: Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3] (Introduced 04/03/2020) Cosponsors: (37)
Committees: House – Education and Labor; Ways and Means; Oversight and Reform; House Administration; Judiciary
Latest Action:  House – 04/03/2020 Referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Oversight and Reform, House Administration, and the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such…

H.R.6420 — To allow 2020 recovery rebates with respect to qualifying children over the age of 16.
Sponsor: Rep. Craig, Angie [D-MN-2] (Introduced 03/31/2020) Cosponsors: (85)
Committees: House – Ways and Means
Latest Action:  House – 03/31/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Press Release: Congresswoman Angie Craig Introduces The All Dependent Children Count Act To Cover Dependents Up to Age 24

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Comment Request: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program—150% Limitation. Comments due on or before May 4, 2020.

ED Comment Request: Distance Education and Innovation. Comments due on or before May 4, 2020.

ED Comment Request: EZ-Audit: Electronic Submission of Financial Statements and Compliance Audits. Comments due on or before May 4, 2020.

ED Comment Request: Loan Rehabilitation: Reasonable and Affordable Payments.  Comments due on or before May 4, 2020.

ED Comment Request: Proposed Priorities, Requirement, and Definitions-Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education-Open Textbooks Pilot Program. Comments due on or before April 30, 2020.