Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: May 27

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (May 19 – 23):


Leadership of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and the House Education and the Workforce Committee announced a bipartisan deal on a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, after resolving differences between the SKILLS Act which passed the House in 2013, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 which passed the Senate HELP Committee in 2013. The bill (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) will go through the Senate first, which could happen as early as the second week in June.

The House Science Committee began marking up the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014” (the FIRST Act) on Thursday. The bill seeks to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. Amendments were debated, but roll call votes on the amendments and final passage were postponed. A date has not yet been announced for a continuation of the markup. A summary of the amendments introduced during the markup can be found here.

A bipartisan group of members on the House Appropriations Committee sent a letter to committee leadership asking them to include language in the FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill to prohibit the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing their gainful employment regulation. The Department has issued a draft proposal for the regulation that is currently open for public comment.

The Senate is in recess this week. The House will be in session from Wednesday – Friday, May 28-30.


The Senate Appropriations Committee released its approved  302(b) allocations for FY 2015. The allocation for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee is $156.773 billion, which is level funded compared to the final FY 2014 funding level. The Senate allocation is $1.08 billion more than the House allocation of $155.693 billion.


U.S. Department of Education Deputy Under Secretary Jamienne Studley announced in a blog post that the Department has delayed the timeline for the Administration’s proposed college rating system. The Department had originally stated that they expected to publish a draft plan this spring, but Studley said they will now release a proposal this fall and a final version before the 2015-16 school year.

The U.S. Department of Education concluded its negotiated rulemaking process on Program Integrity issues this week with a fourth and final session. Negotiators were unable to reach consensus on the complete package of issues being discussed. Issues that were part of the negotiated rulemaking included the definition of adverse credit under the PLUS loan program, state authorization for distance education, and cash management. Because the negotiators were unable to reach an agreement, the Department can now issue their own proposed rules on these issues, irrespective of decisions make during the negotiated rulemaking session.


Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants, including the recently announced competitions for First in the World development grants, Workforce Innovation Fund grants, and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative grants. Please see here for more information.