Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: April 2

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 26 – 30) in Washington.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the third round of Investing in Innovation (i3) grants, and released a notice inviting applications for new “Scale-up” and “Validation” grants. There is approximately $150 million available for the third round of i3.

On the ESEA waiver front, the Administration continues to discuss its plans for district level waivers. As reported in Education Week, Secretary Duncan told the Council of Chief State School Officers last Monday that he would not grant waivers to districts in states that have already secured a waiver from the Department, but that district waivers for other states are still being considered as an option.

This week, the U.S. Department of Education will hold the third and final meeting of Negotiated Rulemaking dealing with teacher preparation programs under Title II, and the TEACH Grant program.


The House Committee on Education & the Workforce held a hearing with Education Secretary Duncan on Wednesday to review the Department’s budget proposals.

On Thursday, the House Committee on Education & the Workforce introduced a bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act. The bill (H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012) essentially combines three WIA reauthorization bills introduced earlier this session by House Republicans including Rep. McKeon, Subcommittee Chairwoman Foxx, and Rep. Heck.

House and Senate Republicans sent a letter to the GAO on Tuesday, asking for a probe of the Direct Loan program, specifically around the Department of Education’s administrative and debt collection processes. The letter was signed by Reps. John Kline, Virginia Foxx and Judy Biggert, and Senators Michael Enzi, Lamar Alexander, and Tom Coburn.

Senator Harkin introduced the “Rebuild America Act” on March 29. It contains a variety of issues, including provisions dealing with school construction, teacher professional development, job training, and support for community colleges and child care among other topics.


On Thursday, the House passed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s FY2013 budget resolution by a vote of 228-191. Background on the Ryan budget can be found here.

Hearings on the FY13 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill continued last week – on Tuesday, four school district superintendents testified before the House Subcommittee on the K-12 education budget, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis testified on Wednesday on the Labor Department budget.