Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: June 2, 2014

A quick look at the news from last week (May 26-30):


The House Science Committee finished marking up, and passed by a vote of 20 to 16, the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014” (the FIRST Act, H.R. 4186). The committee began marking up the bill on May 20. The bill reauthorizes some of the federal scientific research programs, including the programs administered by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in the America COMPETES Act. A summary of the amendments introduced during the markup can be found here.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has indicated that he will seek to include language in the Labor, House and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill to prohibit the use of funds to develop, implement or administer a “postsecondary institution ratings system” such as the one proposed by the Obama Administration.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, introduced a bill that would increase school choice options for children of military parents, students with disabilities, and students in Washington, D.C. (through the DC Opportunity Scholarship program). The bill is titled the CHOICE Act (Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education).


The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Secretary of Health and Human Services this week.


The House of Representatives passed its FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill by a vote of 321-87.

The Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations will markup their FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill on June 3. The full Committee will markup the CJS bill, along with the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill on June 5.

The Senate Committee on the Budget will hold a hearing on June 4 on “The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Borrowers and the Economy.”


John Easton, the Director of the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, will leave IES this fall to take a position at the Spencer Foundation.

At the White House Science Fair this week, President Obama announced new initiatives around STEM education as part of his “Educate to Innovative” campaign. The initiative would include a $35 million grant program to train STEM teachers, expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program, and a new STEM mentoring program.

President Obama has nominated Shaun Donovan to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Donovan is currently Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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