Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: June 10

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (June 3– June 7) in Washington.

Senators on both sides of the aisle introduced bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act last week. The Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to mark up the Democratic bill on Tuesday, June 11.

  • HELP Committee Chairman Harkin (D-IA), with the support of HELP Committee Democrats, introduced the “Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013.”
  • Ranking Member Alexander (R-TN), introduced the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act.”

The Senate voted Thursday on two student loan bills that would address the scheduled doubling of the student loan interest rate on July 1. The Senate failed to invoke cloture on either bill.

  • S. 1003, the Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act, introduced by Republican Senators Coburn, Alexander, and Burr, and others, would have set the interest rate at the 10-year Treasury bill rate plus 3%; the bill failed by a vote of 40-57.
  • S. 953, the Student Loan Affordability Act, introduced by Democratic Senators Reed, Harkin, Reid, and others, would have offset the cost of a 2 year extension of the existing 3.4% subsidized loan interest rate by eliminating three tax breaks; it failed by a vote of 51-46.

House Education Committee Chairman Kline (R-MN), and Subcommittee Chairman Rokita (R-IN) introduced legislation on Thursday to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. They plan to mark up the bill on Wednesday, June 19. The Student Success Act is largely based on ESEA reauthorization bills that were considered by the Committee in the 112th Congress, and this summary from the committee addresses the changes made from those bills.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week on the President’s FY2014 budget proposal for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing last week on “the Administration’s Proposed Re-Organization of STEM education programs.” Witnesses included representatives of the Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation, and NASA.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a subcommittee hearing on Thursday, June 13 on “Keeping College Within Reach: Discussing Program Quality through Accreditation.” Witnesses have not been announced yet.

President Obama introduced a new proposal to overhaul the federal E-rate program. Obama’s ConnectEd plan would work with the FCC to expand the program to provide high-speed Internet access to 99% of students in the U.S. The plan also includes increased professional development for teachers on how to use classroom technology.

The U.S. Department of Education released a fact sheet on President Obama’s proposed  High School Redesign initiative. The program would give grants to school districts in partnership with institutions of higher education and other entities,  to implement whole school redesign with an emphasis on STEM and college and career readiness.

Penn Hill Group provides a weekly list of grant opportunities, and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.