Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: December 9

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (December 2 – 6). 

Discussions continued last week between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray to provide relief for sequestration for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. Press reports indicate that discussions continued over the weekend but no agreement has been announced.

The Senate was in recess last week. Both the House and Senate are in session this week (December 9, 2013). The House is scheduled to adjourn for the rest of the year on December 13, and the Senate is likely to adjourn on December 20.

Negotiations on an Education Sciences Reform Act reauthorization bill have stalled in the House Education and the Workforce committee over the issue of authorization levels.

The Senate HELP Committee announced a hearing for Thursday, December 12 on higher education accreditation issues. This is the fourth in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that the Senate is expected to continue into next year.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a Federal Register notice asking for suggestions for new types of experimental sites that would test methods of administering student financial assistance programs. The Department is interested in experiments that will improve student persistence and success, reduce the amount of time to a degree, and reduce reliance on student loans. Suggestions are due by January 31, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Education launched a new website (the Financial Aid Tool Kit) that consolidates financial aid information and other resources to assist students, guidance counselors and other advisors in financing higher education.

Press reports have stated that Amy McIntosh will join the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in January as Deputy Assistant Secretary. McIntosh currently is a senior fellow in the New York Department of Education’s Regents Research Fund.

Two education- and workforce-related GAO reports were released last week. The first report is on the Workforce Investment Act, and looked at challenges that local areas face in helping employers fill some types of skilled jobs. The second report looks at improvements needed in education research at the Institute of Education Sciences to ensure relevance, and to assess dissemination efforts.

The U.S. Department of Education will hold a third and final Negotiated Rulemaking Committee session on gainful employment on Friday, December 13.

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity will hold a meeting on Thursday and Friday, December 12 and 13. The U.S. Department of Education posted final staff reports in advance of the meeting.

Penn Hill Group provides a weekly list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants, including a summary of the recently announced Youth CareerConnect Program at the Department of Labor. Please visit our website for more information.