Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: February 3

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (January 27 – 31). 

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) confirmed that the 2014 Omnibus conformed to caps on discretionary spending and no OMB-initiated sequestration cuts to 2014 funding will take place.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released principles to guide an overhaul of immigration policy.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held an Executive Session on Wednesday to consider a number of nominations. The committee recommended the confirmation of France Cordova to be Director of the National Science Foundation, and these nominations at the U.S. Department of Education: Michael Yudin to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, James Cole Jr. to be General Counsel, Theodore Mitchell to be Under Secretary of Education, and Ericka Miller to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. The nominations will now move to the Senate floor.

Both the House and Senate education committees will hold hearings on early childhood education this week: a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on February 5 titled “The Foundation for Success: Discussing Early Childhood Education and Care in America,” and a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on February 6 titled, “Supporting Children and Families through Investments in High-Quality Early Education.”

President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday evening. The President repeatedly stressed his willingness to move forward without Congress if necessary in a number of policy areas. On the education front, he renewed his call from last year for pre-K for every four-year-old. On higher education, he pushed for commitments to increase college access for low-income students (following up on last week’s College Opportunity Summit), and said he would like to work with Congress to address college affordability issues. He announced a “down payment” for the ConnectED initiative from the FCC and leading technology companies. Finally, he announced that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an across-the-board reform effort of federal job training programs to ensure that Americans are gaining the skills that employers need.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget released a notice that the proposed Gainful Employment regulation will be added to the official OMB regulatory agenda. The notice has a target date of February 2014 for the release of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This notice comes after a Negotiated Rulemaking committee failed to come to a consensus on the proposed regulation in meetings late last year.

The Institute of Education Sciences announced that Joan McLaughlin will serve as commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research. McLaughlin formerly worked on IES research programs in early intervention services and early education.

The National Center for Education Statistics will hold a Technical Symposium on a Postsecondary Institution Ratings System on February 6, 2014.

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