Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: November 4

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (October 28 –  November 1) in Washington. 

Majority Leader Cantor released the 2014 schedule for the House of Representatives. The target adjournment date for the 113th Congress is December 12, 2014.

The House is scheduled to be in recess this week.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a field hearing in Riverside, California on Monday, November 4, titled “Examining Higher Education Institutions’ Services to Veterans.”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions reported out a bill reauthorizing the Older Americans Act and other legislation on Wednesday, October 30. In addition, the nominations of Michael Yudin to be the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and James Cole Jr. to be the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education were also reported favorably.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold a full committee hearing on Wednesday, November 6 to begin the committee’s work to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. The committee stated that this hearing will examine why the federal government must invest in research and development and STEM education, and how these investments drive innovation and the U.S. economy.

The House/Senate Budget Conference Committee met on Wednesday, October 30 for their first public meeting. Members only made opening statements. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that the next public meeting of the conference committee will be November 13. In related news, Appropriations Committee Chairs Harold Rodgers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) wrote budget conferees asking them to reach agreement on discretionary spending levels for 2014 and 2015 by December 2. Senator Murray (D-WA) and Representative Ryan, chairs of the Senate and House Budget Committees, have publicly stated that their goal is to produce an agreement by December 13.

The Department of Education published the outreach plan and timeline for the development of the college ratings system proposed by the President in August. The outreach plan includes a series of events and town halls as well as four scheduled public forums in Louisiana, Iowa, California and Virginia.  The notice indicates that a draft version of the ratings system could be out by this spring for public comment.

Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle wrote California State Superintendent and the President of the California State Board of Education regarding the state’s adoption of legislation that would not require annual testing of all students in both reading and math for the 2013-2014 school year. The letter states that the adoption of this legislation is putting California’s Title I administrative funding at risk as well as funding associated with other programs such as the School Improvement Grant program and the grants to states program under IDEA.

President Obama announced nominations for a number of Administration positions, including Ted Mitchell to be Under Secretary at the Department of Education, and Massie Ritsch to be Assistant Secretary for Communication and Outreach at the Department of Education.

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