Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: April 15

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (April 7 – April 11).

 

BUDGET

The House of Representatives voted 219-205 to pass a Fiscal Year 2015 budget resolution, which was originally introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Twelve Republicans and all Democrats voted against the budget resolution. The budget resolution proposes no change to the individual caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2015 that were adopted as part of the Murray/Ryan budget bill at the end of 2014. However, for FY 2016 through FY 2024, the budget resolution calls for a reduction in the Budget Control Act caps for non-defense discretionary spending by $791 billion. Overall discretionary spending would be reduced by $308 billion over the 10-year period. The report accompanying the budget resolution recommends cuts and streamlining of programs for job training, federal student aid, K-12 programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, although these recommendations would require separate Congressional action to become law. Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) has publicly stated that the Senate will not consider a budget resolution this year.

ADMINISTRATION

Vice President Joe Biden announced last week that the Administration is forming a consortium of colleges, employers and unions to promote the use of apprenticeships for college credit. The Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium will enable apprentices to earn college credit for their Registered Apprenticeship experience.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that there will be an additional fourth session of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Program Integrity issues. The Committee has held two of the three sessions originally scheduled. The fourth session is for the purposes of further discussion on issues related to PLUS loans, and will take place on May 19 and 20.

The Obama Administration announced 24 winners of the first Youth CareerConnect grant competition. The 24 winners will split $107 million that will be spent on high school redesign.

HOUSE and SENATE

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce marked up and passed two bipartisan bills last week:
·         The “Strengthening Education through Research Act” (H.R. 4366), introduced by Rep. Rokita (R-IN) and Rep. McCarthy (D-NY),  would reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). The bill passed by a voice vote.

·         The “Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act” (H.R. 10), introduced by Rep. Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Miller (D-CA), makes changes to the federal Charter Schools Program. The bill passed by a vote of 36-3, with Reps. Grijalva (D-AZ), Bishop (D-NY) and Fudge (D-OH) casting the dissenting votes.

The House and Senate are in recess for the next two weeks and are scheduled to return to session on Monday, April 28.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants, including the recently announced grant competition for Education Research and Special Education Research grants at the Institute of Education Sciences. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: April 7

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 31 – April 4). 

BUDGET
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a Fiscal Year 2015 budget resolution last week, which the House Budget Committee marked up and passed on Wednesday. The budget resolution proposes no change to the overall cap on discretionary spending and the individual caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2015 that were adopted as part of the Murray/Ryan budget bill at the end of 2014. However, for FY 2016 through FY 2024, the budget resolution calls for a reduction in the Budget Control Act caps for non-defense discretionary spending by $791 billion. Overall discretionary spending would be reduced by $308 billion over the 10-year period. The budget resolution also calls for cuts and streamlining of programs for job training, federal student aid, K-12 programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The bill may go to the House floor as early as this week.

ADMINISTRATION
The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education released a report on security problems in K-12 testing it found as part of a nationwide audit. The report specifically cites Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas as having security issues with their tests.

SENATE 
Senate education committee Chairman Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill, the “Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Improvement Act,” that would create an oversight committee of federal agencies, including Defense, Education, Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to coordinate oversight of for-profit colleges.

The Senate unanimously confirmed the nominations of Christopher Lu to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Portia Wu to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training.

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 9 on the budget for the U.S. Department of Labor with Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez testifying.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on Thursday, April 10 on “Expanding Access to Quality Early Learning: the Strong Start for America’s Children Act.”

HOUSE
The House of Representatives passed the “Save American Workers Act” (H.R. 2575) on Thursday by a vote of 248-179. The bill repeals the 30-hour threshold for classification as a full-time employee under the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with 40 hours.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce released two bipartisan bills last week, which they will mark up on Tuesday, April 8.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) has been named a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 8 on the budget for the U.S. Department of Education with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testifying.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

 

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 31

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 24 – 28).  

ADMINISTRATION
The U.S. Department of Education held the second of several Negotiated Rulemaking sessions on Program Integrity issues last week on March 26 – 28. The panel is considering a number of proposed higher education regulations including Title IV aid disbursement, state authorization, underwriting standards for PLUS loans, clock hour versus credit hour and rules about students receiving financial aid for repeated coursework. The Department posted draft regulatory language for all of the proposed regulations except those related to PLUS Loans. The third and what was originally scheduled as the last session will take place on April 23-25.  During last week’s session the Department received the approval of the negotiators to add a fourth session in mid-May for the purposes of further discussion on the issues related to PLUS loans.

The U.S. Department of Education released a report on the Race to the Top program as it enters its fourth year.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a Federal Register notice last week that gives the Secretary of Education the authority to give priority to any grant competition applicant whose project is designed to serve and coordinate with a federally designated Promise Zone. The Promise Zone initiative is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and aligns resources to revitalize low-income areas. The Federal Register notice does state that this priority might not be appropriate for all discretionary grant programs.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the next National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) meeting will be June 18-19, 2014 in Washington, DC.

SENATE and HOUSE
The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 2 on the budget for the Department of Labor, with Secretary of Labor of Thomas E. Perez testifying.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing this week on Wednesday, April 2 titled, “Keeping College within Reach: Meeting the Needs of Contemporary Students.”

Education Week is reporting that the House education committee may mark up a bill to reauthorize the Education Sciences and Reform Act (ESRA) as early as the second week in April. The committee had previously planned to consider this legislation at the end of 2013. The committee may also mark up a charter schools bill on the same date.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 24

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 17 – 21). 

ADMINISTRATION
The U.S. Department of Education will hold the second of several Negotiated Rulemaking sessions on Program Integrity issues on March 26 – 28. The panel is considering a number of proposed higher education regulations including Title IV aid disbursement, state authorization, underwriting standards for PLUS loans, clock hour versus credit hour and rules about students receiving financial aid for repeated coursework. The Department is expected to post draft regulatory language for a number of the proposed regulations before the meetings this week. The third and what is currently scheduled as the last session will be April 23-25, but the Department has expressed the desire to hold a fourth session on adverse credit history in late May.

The U.S. Department of Education released year three progress reports for states with Race to the Top grants.

The U.S. Department of Education released new data from the 2011-12 Civil Rights Data Collection. It is the first data collection of its type that covers all public schools and districts in the United States.

SENATE and HOUSE
The House and Senate were in recess last week.

The House Appropriations Committee will hold two education-related hearings this week: on Tuesday, March 25 the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee will hear from public and outside witnesses on the Labor, HHS and Education appropriations. On Thursday, March 27 the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee will discuss the budget for the National Science Foundation with NSF Acting Director Dr. Cora Marrett testifying.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold two hearings this week: on Wednesday, March 26 the full committee will review science agency funding in the President’s FY 2015 budget request, and on Thursday, March 27 the Subcommittee on Space will look at the FY 2015 budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold two hearings this week: on Tuesday, March 25 the early childhood subcommittee will hold a hearing on strengthening the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. On Wednesday, March 26 the full committee will review the President’s FY 2015 budget request for the Department of Labor, and Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez testifying.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold two hearings this week: on Tuesday, March 25 the full committee will discuss teacher preparation issues. On Thursday, March 27, the full committee will look at strengthening the federal student loan program.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 17

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 3 – 7).   

SENATE
The Senate passed S.1086, a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, by a vote of 96-2 on Thursday.

The Senate confirmed the nominations of James H. Shelton to serve as Deputy Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education and France Cordova to serve as Director of the National Science Foundation.

HOUSE
The House Subcommittee on Research and Technology marked up H.R. 4186, the FIRST Act, which reauthorizes the America COMPETES Act. The bill was approved by the subcommittee. A date has not been announced for a full committee markup.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold two field hearings next week. The first hearing on March 18 will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada and is titled, “Reviving our Economy: How Career and Technical Education Can Strengthen the Workforce.” The second hearing is on March 20 in Mesa, Arizona, on “Supporting a 21st Century Workforce.”

Education Week is reporting that Chairman Kline (R-MN) and Senior Democrat George Miller (D-CA) of the House Education and the Workforce Committee are working on a bipartisan charter school bill.

ADMINISTRATION
The Government Accountability Office issued a report that found that the U.S. Department of Education could improve its oversight of default loan management and the student loan rehabilitation process. The report release coincided with a hearing in the House on the same topic.

The Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education released a report on “Third-Party Servicer Use of Debit Cards to Deliver Title IV Funds.”

The U.S. Department of Education released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the gainful employment regulation on Friday. The NPRM is open for public comment for the next 60 days. A Negotiated Rulemaking committee failed to come to a consensus on the proposed regulation in meetings late last year.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the beginning of the next round of the Investing in Innovation (i3) competition. There is $134.8 million available for this round of the competition. The Department is asking for development grant applications first. Applicants must submit a pre-application by April 14, and the highest-rated applicants will be invited to apply. Details on the validation and scale-up grants will come at a later date.

The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are seeking additional comment on their Preschool Development Grants Competition funded through the Race to the Top initiative. Comments can be submitted through their dedicated website and are due by March 21, 2014. They will also host a public meeting to obtain additional input on March 20, 2014 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.  

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 10

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 3 – 7).   

BUDGET
President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request on Tuesday, March 4. The budget request for the Department of Education proposes $68.6 billion in discretionary spending, which is an increase of $1.3 billion, or 1.9 percent, over the Fiscal Year 2014 amount. The Department’s request includes two new higher education proposals providing bonuses to institutions of higher education for graduating Pell Grant students and incentivizing states to adopt performance-focused funding measures and maintain and increase state higher education spending. On the K-12 side, the request includes funding for a new technology and data use professional development initiative called ConnectEDucators, and a new focus for Race to the Top on school equity and student opportunity issues.

SENATE
The Senate has cleared the way procedurally to begin debate on S.1086, a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. Majority Leader Reid has not yet announced when debate on the bill will begin, but it could be as early as this week. The bill passed the Senate HELP Committee late last year.

HOUSE
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a full committee hearing on March 12 on “Raising the Bar: The Role of Charter Schools in K-12 Education.” This hearing was rescheduled from March 4.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a Higher Education and Workforce Training subcommittee hearing on March 12 on “Examining the Mismanagement of the Student Loan Rehabilitation Process.”

ADMINISTRATION
Education Week reported that the U.S. Department of Education has approved California’s application for a waiver that will allow them to use Common Core field tests for a number of their students over the next year, rather than state tests.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants, including the recently announced H1-B Ready to Work Partnership Grant competition under the Employment and Training Administration.  Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 3

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (February 24 – 28).  

BUDGET
President Obama will release his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request on Tuesday, March 4.

SENATE
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) recommended the nominations of Portia Y. Wu to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Christopher P. Lu to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Massie Ritsch to be the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education during an executive session on Thursday. The nominations will now go to the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate will consider S.1086, a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act as early as this week.  The bill passed the Senate HELP Committee late last year.

HOUSE
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a full committee hearing on March 4 on “Raising the Bar: The Role of Charter Schools in K-12 Education.”

House education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week asking for more information on the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to develop a “50-state” strategy on teacher equity. The proposed plan would task the Department’s Office for Civil Rights with ensuring that states are providing high-quality teachers equally to both low-income students and more advantaged students.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp introduced a comprehensive tax bill last week. This legislation would eliminate many of the standalone education-related tax provisions, including the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit provisions, the exclusion for employer provided tuition assistance from income and the deduction for interest on education loans. The bill would prevent new contributions to Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and maintain a version of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and make $1,500 of this tax credit refundable.  A section-by-section summary of the bill can be found here, with the education-related discussion beginning on page eight.

ADMINISTRATION
The U.S. Department of Education released new guidance for schools and educators on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), specifically around protecting student data privacy while using online educational services.

President Obama announced the creation of two public-private manufacturing innovation institutes, one in Chicago and one in Detroit. These consortiums of businesses and universities will work together to boost manufacturing in those areas. He also announced a competition for the creation of an additional institution, the first of four such competitions.

My Brother’s Keeper,” a new White House initiative launched by President Obama, will bring the public, private and non-profit sectors together to test a range of strategies to support young males of color.

The Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education released an audit report on the Department’s risk management regarding Title IV student aid funds for distance education programs.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services, alleging improper lending and other practices. 

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Education Week Quotes Penn Hill Group’s Alex Nock on Democratic Leadership of the House Education Committee

Education Week recently quoted Penn Hill Group Executive Vice President Alex Nock on the possibility of Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) taking over as senior Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, in the wake of Rep. George Miller’s (D-CA) announcement that he will retire at the end of this year.

In a February 4 Education Week article:

‘And Alex Nock, another former top aide to House Democrats, who now serves as executive vice president of Penn Hill Group, a government relations organization, said Scott, “is very passionate about the issues in front of the committee.” If he’s tapped for the ranking member slot, “he’ll have to decide what his priorities are.”’

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: February 24

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (February 17 – 21).  

HOUSE and SENATE
The House and Senate were in recess this week.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold two hearings next week: an Executive Session on February 26 to vote on several pending nominations, including Portia Y. Wu to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Christopher P. Lu to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Massie Ritsch to be the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education; and a full committee hearing on February 27 on “Promoting College Access and Success for Students with Disabilities.”

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a joint subcommittee hearing (the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary education, and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training) on February 27 on “Exploring Efforts to Strengthen the Teaching Profession.”

Longtime House education committee member Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced this week that he will not seek reelection after this term.

ADMINISTRATION
The first of three Negotiated Rulemaking sessions on Program Integrity issues took place last week. The panel began considering a number of proposed higher education regulations including Title IV aid disbursement, state authorization, underwriting standards for PLUS loans, clock hour versus credit hour and rules about students receiving federal aid for repeated coursework. The committee will meet for two additional sessions in March and April. During this week’s session, the Department announced that it will release proposed draft regulatory language for consideration by the panel before the second session in March.

The GAO released a report on federal student loans, saying that the impact of loan limit increases on college prices is difficult to determine.

The U.S. Department of Education continues to consider requests from states with No Child Left Behind waivers to delay implementing their teacher evaluation systems for one year. It was reported this week that North Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada and Kentucky were granted the extensions, but Utah and Arkansas’ requests were denied for now because both states were asking for more than just the extension in their request.

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking comment on the new Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge competition, which will provide grants to states to improve early childhood care and education. Comments are due by February 26, 2014.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: February 18

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (February 10 – 14).  

BUDGET
While the President’s FY2015 budget request is still expected to be released on March 4 as previously indicated, the White House is now saying that some of the budget data, including historical tables and Analytical Perspectives, will not be available until March 11.

HOUSE and SENATE
The House and Senate are in recess this week.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House education committee, along with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying that the No Child Left Behind waivers the Department of Education has granted to states are hindering educational equity, especially for certain subgroups of students. The letter calls on the Department to consider this before granting extensions of these waivers.

House education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and higher education subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to President Obama asking for information on his plans to advance his higher education agenda through Executive Branch efforts and expressed concerns about this approach of acting without Congress.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a full committee hearing last Tuesday on the nominations of Christopher P. Lu to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Portia Y. Wu to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training. During the hearing, Chairman Harkin (D-IA) announced that the committee will vote on the nominations at the end of the month.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Harkin introduced a bill (the Keeping All Students Safe Act) that will address seclusion and restraint policies in schools. He also released the results of an investigation on the impact of seclusion and restraint policies and the lack of legal resources for parents of students who have been secluded or restrained.

The first meeting of a task force on higher education regulations was held last week. The task force was formed by Sen. Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member on the Senate education committee, and Senators Bennet (D-CO), Burr (R-NC) and Mikulski (D-MD), to identify excessive regulations and make recommendations on the Education Department’s rulemaking process. Senator Alexander and Senator Bennet attended the meeting.

ADMINISTRATION
The Treasury Department provided further clarification on how to account for the hours that adjuncts work at colleges and universities for the purposes of complying with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to provide health coverage. The guidance stipulates that employers of adjuncts can operate under a “safe harbor” if they assume 1.25 hours of preparation time for every one hour of classroom time for adjuncts. This safe harbor is expected to be in effect through at least the end of 2015.

The GAO released a report on the characteristics of projects funded by the Investing in Innovation (i3) program.  

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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