Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: May 7

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (April 30 – May 4) in Washington.

The Department of Education provided feedback to the 26 states and D.C. that applied for NCLB waivers in Round 2, sending a round of letters on April 17. While the Department has not made the letters public, some states have released their letters, and Education Week links to a number of them in their Tuesday article.

The President spoke about the Administration’s Summer Jobs + initiative this past week. The Summer Jobs+ initiative is a commitment by private employers and others to employ youth this summer.  This proposal was originally announced in January of this year.

The House and Senate were in recess this past week.

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce is likely to markup H.R. 4297 (the Workforce Investment Improvement Act) sometime in the coming weeks.

Last week, Senator Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on a bill to extend the 3.4 percent student loan interest rate.  The bill would offset the cost of the interest rate extension by increasing taxes on S corps with less than 3 shareholders where any of the shareholders have modified AGI of more than $250,000 joint and $200,000 individual.   A vote on cloture is expected May 7. Senator Alexander (R-TN) also introduced legislation (the Student Loan Interest Rate Reduction Act) to keep the low rate.

The House Budget Committee announced that there will be a markup of two bills on Monday the 7th that are designed to replace the cuts that would happen under Budget Sequestration with cuts in spending recommended by the authorization Committees of the House.  The Education and the Workforce Committee did not provide recommendations to the House for this process.  Both of these bills are intended to be part of a “reconciliation process” that at this point cannot take place since the Senate has not passed a budget resolution allowing for reconciliation this year.