Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 3

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (February 24 – 28).  

President Obama will release his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request on Tuesday, March 4.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) recommended the nominations of Portia Y. Wu to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Christopher P. Lu to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Massie Ritsch to be the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education during an executive session on Thursday. The nominations will now go to the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate will consider S.1086, a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act as early as this week.  The bill passed the Senate HELP Committee late last year.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a full committee hearing on March 4 on “Raising the Bar: The Role of Charter Schools in K-12 Education.”

House education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week asking for more information on the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to develop a “50-state” strategy on teacher equity. The proposed plan would task the Department’s Office for Civil Rights with ensuring that states are providing high-quality teachers equally to both low-income students and more advantaged students.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp introduced a comprehensive tax bill last week. This legislation would eliminate many of the standalone education-related tax provisions, including the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit provisions, the exclusion for employer provided tuition assistance from income and the deduction for interest on education loans. The bill would prevent new contributions to Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and maintain a version of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and make $1,500 of this tax credit refundable.  A section-by-section summary of the bill can be found here, with the education-related discussion beginning on page eight.

The U.S. Department of Education released new guidance for schools and educators on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), specifically around protecting student data privacy while using online educational services.

President Obama announced the creation of two public-private manufacturing innovation institutes, one in Chicago and one in Detroit. These consortiums of businesses and universities will work together to boost manufacturing in those areas. He also announced a competition for the creation of an additional institution, the first of four such competitions.

My Brother’s Keeper,” a new White House initiative launched by President Obama, will bring the public, private and non-profit sectors together to test a range of strategies to support young males of color.

The Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education released an audit report on the Department’s risk management regarding Title IV student aid funds for distance education programs.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services, alleging improper lending and other practices. 

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