Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: April 23

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (April 16-20) in Washington.

ADMINISTRATION
The U.S. Department of Education announced a blueprint for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (details here).

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity approved its set of recommendations on accreditation last week with minor changes from the prior draft (available here). The final report will be accompanied by dissenting views which had been proposed as a substitute to the recommendations, but failed in a vote of the committee members.  The dissenting views propose to end the linkage between federal student financial aid and accreditation.  The Department is expected to post the final report shortly.

The U.S. Department of Education opened the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods Competition. Of the $60 million available in this competition, $27 million will be for up to 7 new implementation grants, $7 million for 14 new one-year planning grants, and remaining funds will provide second year funding for the five awardees from last year.

HOUSE
The House Committee on Education & the Workforce held a legislative hearing on H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act, on Tuesday; witnesses included several local workforce development representatives, and the Director of the National Skills Coalition.

While the Committee originally intended to markup H.R. 4297 next week, it will likely take place after the April 30-May 4 recess.

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce will hold a hearing on Thursday next week on the FY2013 Budget Request for the Department of Health and Human Services, with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying.

SENATE
Senators Hagan (D-NC) and Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation on Wednesday that will ban the use of federal funds for advertising, marketing and recruitment at colleges. The proposed legislation, The Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act, is available here.

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing Wednesday on “Strategies for Accelerated Learning.” Among other topics, the hearing highlighted the benefit of the Advanced Placement program for preparing students for post-secondary education.

APPROPRIATIONS/BUDGET
On Tuesday, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Conrad (D-ND) released a FY13 budget plan based on recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission, but no vote is expected as Majority Leader Reid has stated he will not bring a budget to the Senate floor.

The House also, as part of an unrelated piece of legislation, deemed the overall appropriation level for FY 2013.  The level is the one set in the recently passed House Budget Resolution that would reduce the overall discretionary spending limits set in last year’s Budget Control Act for FY 2013 by $19 billion.  As part of the action on the FY 2013 appropriation level, the House also approved the “reconciliation” instructions that were in the House passed Budget Resolution.  These instructions don’t provide for any reconciliation protections in the Senate (i.e. passing a reconciliation bill with only 51 votes in the Senate) as the Senate has not approved a FY 2013 budget resolution.

The Senate Appropriations Committee set their Subcommittee Budget Allocations on Thursday.The Labor/HHS/Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on the FY2013 Budget Request for the Department of Education, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan testifying.

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