Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: March 26

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 19-23) in Washington.


As reported in Education Week, the Administration indicated in a speech last Monday that after a third round of ESEA waiver judging in September, they plan to offer flexibility options for districts.

The Congressional Budget Office issued their scoring of the President’s FY 2013 Budget Request.  CBO confirms that the Pell grant program will have approximately a $2 billion surplus for the award year paid for by the FY 2013 appropriations bill.  However, 2014 brings back the major shortfalls in Pell spending ($8 billion and higher on an annual basis), so long as Congress maintains the present amount of discretionary spending for Pell.  The CBO score for Higher Education proposals can be found here.

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce held a hearing with Labor Secretary Solis on Wednesday to review the Department’s budget proposals. Education Secretary Duncan will testify before the Committee on March 28 on the Administration’s education budget proposals.

House Democrats introduced a WIA reauthorization bill this week: The Workforce Investment Act of 2012 with Rep. John Tierney as the main sponsor and Ranking member George Miller and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa as cosponsors.  House Republicans continue to work behind the scenes on a WIA reauthorization, and it’s possible that the Committee may hold a hearing on their legislation within the next few weeks. The Democrat’s bill incorporates the Administration’s $8 billion dollar community college and job training proposal.


Senator Harkin and his staff continue their work on the “Rebuilding America Act” which contains a variety of issues that impact education and training policy. We expect this bill will include provisions dealing with school construction, reforming teacher colleges, job training, and support for community colleges and child care among other topics.

Hearings on the FY13 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill began last week with Secretary Duncan testifying yesterday before the House Subcommittee. Hearings continue next week on the K-12 education budget (March 27), Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (March 28), and testimony from public witnesses on the education budget (March 29). Congress is not expected to complete the appropriations process before the upcoming November election.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan introduced a FY2013 budget resolution on Tuesday that would cut $5.3 trillion in spending over the next ten years. The budget resolution was passed by the House Budget Committee on Wednesday night.  The full House is expected to consider the resolution next week.  Background on the Ryan budget can be found here.  Major issues to note in the Ryan Budget Resolution include:

  • A lowering of the overall FY 2013 discretionary spending cap agreed to as part of the Budget Control Act last year by $19 billion.  Senate leaders have already signaled that they will use the levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act.
  • Reconciliation instructions to six Congressional Committees seeking savings of $18 billion in FY 2013 ($261 billion over 10 years).
  • A renewed call to shrink Pell spending and consolidate education and job training programs.