Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: April 1

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 25 – 29) in Washington.

President Obama signed the $984 billion appropriations measure that will fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The bill passed both the Senate and House the week of March 18. The Office of Management and Budget has determined that an additional 0.2% across the board cut must be made to non-security programs because the overall spending in the bill was above the caps for FY 2013.  This 0.2% cut will impact all programs, including those that are not impacted by sequestration (such as Pell Grants).  Including the cuts made due to sequestration, non-exempt programs will be cut approximately 5.2% from their 2012 levels.  As we have reported previously, an additional $30 million was made available for Job Corps from unobligated DOL funding.

The Senate passed an FY14 budget resolution on March 23rd by a vote of 50-49. The budget resolution calls for $975 billion in increased tax revenues and for replacing the sequester with a mix of tax revenues, and cuts to defense and non-defense spending at about half the amount that are scheduled to occur under the sequester.

Both Houses are in recess this week.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the fourth round of the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund competition, which begins with a pre-application process for development grants. The deadline for pre-applications is April 26, 2013, after which the Department will announce a list of highly rated pre-applications who will be invited to apply for the development grant. The timeline for validation and scale-up grants will be announced at a later date.

The U.S. Department of Education released a statement on a request for an ESEA waiver from a consortium of California school districts. The Department said that while it prefers to work with states, because California does not currently have an application, and because the consortium serves a large number of students, the Department will consider the district-level request.  In this statement, the Department said that it has moved the application to the peer review stage.