Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (April 8 – 12) in Washington.
President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget, released on Wednesday, proposes $71.2 billion in discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Education, which is an increase of $3.1 billion or 4.5 percent over the fiscal year 2012 level (OMB summary of ED budget, ED materials on the budget). The proposal includes $75 billion over 10 years for a new Preschool for All initiative aimed at assisting states in providing preschool for 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. It also includes $300 million for a new High School Redesign program, calls for the adoption of a variable interest rate structure for Federal student loan programs, funds several new STEM related initiatives and renews a proposal from last year’s budget for a $1 billion Race to the Top initiative focused on college affordability and completion. Lastly, the budget continues the trend of the last few years in Administration budget requests by calling for an increase in funding for IES programs.
The President’s budget request provides a $20 million increase for the Department of Labor discretionary programs compared to FY 2012, for a total of $12.1 billion for FY 2014 (DOL materials on the budget). Included in the DOL budget materials is a call to consider additional consolidation of job training programs.
The President’s budget request proposes a $3.9 billion increase for the Department of Health and Human Services compared to FY 2012, for a total of $80.1 billion for FY 2014 (HHS materials on the budget). Included in the HHS budget is $1.4 billion to expand Early Head Start and $200 million in increased funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant.
The House Appropriations Committee held a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the FY2014 budget request for the Education Department. Education Secretary Arne Duncan testified. The hearing focused much attention on the President’s preschool proposal.
Acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris will testify at a House Labor, Health and Human Service, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Department of Labor. The hearing is set for Tuesday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 17, at 10:00 a.m. on the FY 2014 Budget Request for the Department of Education, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan testifying.
Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Alexander (R-TN) introduced S. 639, the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate HELP Committee on Wednesday. The bill expands mental health services in schools, including expanding the use of positive behavior support services, and increasing early-intervention services. It is likely that this bill is offered as an amendment to the legislation presently being debated by the full Senate on gun control.
Senators Alexander (R-TN), Coburn (R-MD), and Burr (R-NC) introduced legislation last week to institute a variable interest rate structure for federal student loans.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a full committee hearing on Tuesday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. titled “The Challenge of College Affordability: The Student Lens.” Witnesses include two college students, a representative of the US Public Interest Research Group, and a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Secretary of Labor-Designate Thomas E. Perez on Thursday, April 18 at 10:00 a.m.
The House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee hearing titled “Keeping College Within Reach: The Role of Federal Student Aid Programs” on Tuesday, April 16 at 11:00 a.m. Witnesses will be Terry Hartle, Senior Vice President, American Council on Education; Moriah Miles, Minnesota State University Student Association; Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University; Dan Madzelan, Former Employee, US Department of Education.
Deputy Secretary Tony Miller announced he will be leaving the U.S. Department of Education in May. The Secretary has recommended that Jim Shelton, currently the Assistant Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, replace him.