Washington Wrap Up – May 5, 2020

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


May 5, 2020

COVID-19 Update
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced $307.5 million in discretionary grants funds through the Education Stabilization Fund created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L.116-136). The funding comes from the 1 percent set-aside within the Education Stabilization Fund for ED to provide relief to States that have been most highly affected by COVID-19. ED is dividing the funds into two grant competitions: $180 million for the Rethink K-12 School Models Grant competition; and $127.5 million for the Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grant competition.

ED announced the availability of $1.04 billion in funding for Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and $349 million for institutions of higher education (IHEs) with the greatest unmet need through the Education Stabilization Fund.

ED sent its recommendations for new waiver authority, as was required of ED under the CARES Act. ED recommended additional waiver authorities under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. ED did not recommend any additional waiver authorities under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Congress would have to enact new legislation to provide this waiver authority to ED.

On Friday, May 1, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced legislation, Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, with the goal of generating support for workforce related funding in the next COVID-19 package that Congress will attempt to advance in the coming weeks. The press release on the bill can be found here.  The House Democratic Committee staff section by section summary of the bill can be found here.  The bill text can be found here.  We expect Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) to introduce extremely similar if not nearly identical legislation early this week in the Senate.

In the big picture this is a play by Chairman Scott (and also Senator Murray) to push Congressional leaders to include workforce related funding in the next COVID package. The next package is largely expected to start out in the House (which is not scheduled to return until next week at the earliest), so Scott pushing on House leaders on this issue will be important. The decision to include workforce funding however really lies with House leadership and to some extent the appropriations committee leaders.  We will certainly talk more about this on this week’s board call, but please let us know if you have any immediate questions

Overall the bill authorizes $15 billion in new WIOA, Job Corps, Adult Basic Education, YouthBuild and community college/industry partnerships (a version of a new TAACCCT 2.0) funding. To highlight a few aspects of this legislation specific to RAMC interests:

  • The bulk of the bill sends funds through the existing WIOA funding formulas with some moderate additional flexibility in how the funds can be spent.  Based on our last Board call, we were successful in getting the Scott staff to allow Governor’s to reserve 10% more (on top of the existing Governor’s reserve) of WIOA formula funds.  In addition, the bill permits up to 40% of adult workforce funds to be used for incumbent worker training and 40% for transitional jobs (including public sector jobs).
  • The bill includes a restart of the TAACCCT program (without the constraint of just serving trade adjustment assistance individuals).  The bill proposes $2 billion for this program that would be designed to support community college and industry partnerships in creating education and training programs.
  • The bill authorizes $2 billion through the Adult Basic Education program to respond to COVID-19 related issues and expand adult basic education services.

House leadership announced that it will not return to session the week of May 4, as originally planned.

ED approved Massachusetts to participate in the Innovative Assessments pilot program for the 2020-2021 school year.

The U.S. District Court for Connecticut ruled that the State of Connecticut’s demands for records from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, a student loan servicer under contract with ED, is preempted by Federal law.

ED was sued for continuing to garnish the wages of Federal student loan borrowers behind on payments despite the CARES Act requiring the suspension of such activities through September 30.

Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]
House committees move toward virtual hearings for COVID-19 era [The Hill]

Borrowers sue Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for garnishing wages after Congress ordered halt [The Washington Post]

Is DeVos right? Does the CARES Act exclude DACA students from aid? [Inside Higher Ed]

Colleges Won’t Refund Tuition. Autumn May Force a Reckoning. [The New York Times]

4 ways colleges’ tech teams are managing the shift online [Education Dive]

How to Get Emergency Coronavirus Aid at One University: Sign Up for Summer School [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Some California colleges decide to offer all fall classes online [EdSource]

Coronavirus blew up summer internships, forcing students and employers to get creative [The Washington Post]

Four Things to Know About Betsy DeVos’ COVID-19 Grants for Parents, States [Education Week]

Community colleges offer summer discounts to help struggling students and enrollments [Inside Higher Ed]

Study: Hispanic students interested in STEM but underrepresented in classes, careers [Education Dive]

‘Alt-Ed’ Ventures Could Gain Traction in an Uncertain Fall [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Michigan governor announces plan to provide tuition-free education for essential workers [The Hill]

Under pressure to reopen this fall, school leaders plot unprecedented changes [The Washington Post]

Colleges announce tentative plans for fall 2020 [Education Dive]

Students sue California’s university systems demanding coronavirus-related refunds [The Associated Press]

President Speaks: COVID-19 lessons are preparing community colleges to better serve their communities [Education Dive]

Live vs. tape-delayed: How two approaches to online learning change life for teachers and students [The Washington Post]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
Speaker of the House
Press Release: Pelosi Names Select Members to Bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis

Senate Majority Leader
Press Release: McConnell Statement on New Guidance from the Office of the Attending Physician

House Education and Labor Committee 
Press Release: In Response to Rising Unemployment, Democrats Introduce Legislation to Invest $15 Billion in Workforce Training Needed to Relaunch the Economy

Press Release: “FRIDAY: Full Committee Holds Virtual Forum to Discuss COVID-19 Response”

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions  
Press Release: Murray, DeLauro Urge DeVos to Reverse Unauthorized Guidance Excluding 7.5 Million Students From Emergency Financial Aid

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
Press Release: Wicker, Thune, Moran, Blackburn Announce Plans to Introduce Data Privacy Bill

House Committee on Appropriations 
May 6: Subcommittee Hearing: “COVID-19 Response”
Witnesses: Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, and former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Caitlin Rivers. Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
10:00 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn House Office Building or webcast

House Committee on the Budget
Press Release: House Budget Committee Underscores COVID-19 Response Must Focus on Fighting & Recovering from Pandemic

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
White House Press Release: Presidential Message to the Class of 2020

White House Press Release: Remarks by President Trump in a Meeting with Industry Executives on COVID-19 Response

ED Press Release: Secretary DeVos Delivers Nearly $1.4 Billion in Additional CARES Act Relief Funds to HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions, and Colleges and Universities Serving Low-Income Students

ED Press Release: Secretary DeVos Launches New Grant Competition to Spark Student-Centered, Agile Learning Opportunities to Support Recovery from National Emergency

DOL Press Release: U.S. Department Of Labor Announces $29.2 Million Funding Opportunity For The Workforce Opportunity For Rural Communities Initiative

IES Report: “Self-Study Guide for Evidence-Based Practices in Adult Literacy Education”

IES Report: “Postsecondary Occupational Education Among Students Who Took Career and Technical Education in High School”

IES Report: “Courses Taken, Credits Earned, and Time to Degree: A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts of 2011–12 Beginning Postsecondary Students”

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
H.R.6646 — To provide State and local workforce and career and technical education systems with support to respond to the COVID-19 national emergency.
Sponsor: Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3] (Introduced 05/01/2020) Cosponsors: (10)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 05/01/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Press Release: In Response To Rising Unemployment, Democrats Introduce Legislation To Invest $15 Billion In Workforce Training Needed To Relaunch The Economy

H.R.6651 — To amend the higher education emergency relief fund under the CARES Act to restrict eligibility to institutions of higher education that owned endowment assets whose average monthly value was equal to or less than $10,000,000,000 in 2019, unless the institution expends additional institutional funds on higher education emergency relief, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Cline, Ben [R-VA-6] (Introduced 05/01/2020) Cosponsors: (2)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 05/01/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Press Release: Rep. Cline Introduces H.R. 6651 – The Use Your Endowment Act

H.R.6685 — To provide for a matching funds waiver for formula grants and subgrants under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.
Sponsor: Rep. McBath, Lucy [D-GA-6] (Introduced 05/01/2020) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 05/01/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

H.R.6686 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to increase access to accelerated postgraduate nursing programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie [D-FL-26] (Introduced 05/01/2020) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Energy and Commerce
Latest Action:  House – 05/01/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R.6322 — Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020
Sponsor: Rep. Takano, Mark [D-CA-41] (Introduced 03/23/2020) Cosponsors: (49)
Committees: House – Veterans’ Affairs; Armed Services
Latest Action:  04/28/2020 Signed by President.

H.R.6631 — To direct the Secretary of Labor to establish an interagency task force on worker protection from COVID-19, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Stevens, Haley M. [D-MI-11] (Introduced 04/28/2020) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 04/28/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

H.Res.942 — Expressing support for designation of the third Friday of every March, as “National FIRST Robotics Day”.
Sponsor: Rep. Foster, Bill [D-IL-11] (Introduced 04/28/2020) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Science, Space, and Technology; Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 04/28/2020 Referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Education and Labor, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the…

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Final Priorities: Competitive Grants for State Assessments (CGSA) program.

ED Comment Request: Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) Performance Measures and Adulthood Preparation Subjects (PMAPS) Studies-Data Collection Related to the Performance Measures Study-Revision. Comments due within 30 days.

DOL Comment Request: Job Corps Enrollee Allotment Determination. Comments due on or before May 28, 2020.