Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: October 15

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (October 7 –  11) in Washington. 

Congress was unable to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, and a government shutdown began on October 1.  In addition, the Treasury Department previously announced that the federal government will reach the debt ceiling on October 17.  Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reiterated his call for an increase in the debt limit to avoid a default. House Republican leaders met with President Obama on Thursday and discussed a plan to extend the debt ceiling for six weeks; the plan would not end the government shutdown. It has been reported that House Republicans may vote on a six-week extension of the debt limit as early as this weekend. Senate Republicans also met with President Obama on Friday.  Senate Republicans may advance a proposal to extend the debt limit, end the government shutdown, and make several changes to the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Department of Education has canceled the negotiated rulemaking session on gainful employment that was originally scheduled for October 21-23, 2013. They have not announced plans for rescheduling the session.

The U.S. Department of Education posted a notice that applications for the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge program are still due on October 16, regardless of the government shutdown.

Education Week reported that 219 school districts or groups of school districts submitted applications for the second round of the Race to the Top District competition. There is $120 million available for the competition, and awards will be made ranging from $4 million to $30 million.

The Department of Defense reiterated last week that Tuition Assistance payments are suspended during the government shutdown, and that TA requests with start dates during the shutdown period will not be reinstated or reimbursed.

The Veterans Administration updated their government shutdown plan, saying that the VA has funds available to ensure claims processing and payments in education programs (among others) through late October, but claims processing and payments will be suspended when funds are exhausted.

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