Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: January 26, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group


House education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) stated at an AEI event that he hopes to have a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) on the House floor by March of this year, and that the ESEA reauthorization bill passed by the House in the 113th Congress, the Student Success Act, will be a starting point. Chairman Kline added that the committee is also working on a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which he would like to move out of the committee after an ESEA reauthorization, and expects to move on a reauthorization of the Career and Technical Education Act and Education Sciences Reform Act this Congress as well.

Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released a white paper outlining their priorities for overhauling the Head Start Act. The committee also asked for public feedback on the Head Start program by June 1, 2015. Comments can be submitted to

House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced the committee’s recommendations to Democratic leadership for membership and leadership of the subcommittees in the 114th Congress; Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was recommended to continue as Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee, and other subcommittee members would be: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA).


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on January 21 on “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability.” The Committee will continue this series of hearings with a hearing on January 27 on “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Supporting Teachers and School Leaders.” Witnesses for this hearing will be: Dan Goldhaber, Director of the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research; Terry Holliday, Kentucky Commissioner of Education; Saul Hinojosa, Superintendent of Schools in Somerset Independent School District; Rachelle Moore, first grade teacher at Madrona K-8 school in Washington; and Christine Handy-Collins, Principal of Gaithersburg High School in Maryland. HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) also stated that he hopes to hold one additional hearing on NCLB, in a roundtable format.

During the NCLB hearing, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) stated his intention of holding a hearing in February to discuss the findings of the task force on higher education deregulation that was formed by Chairman Alexander and Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) last year.

The Senate HELP Committee will hold an Executive Session on January 28 to adopt committee rules and a committee funding resolution, and to mark up two bills: S. 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, and S.___, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA). A similar SETRA bill, which reauthorizes the Education Sciences Reform Act, passed the Senate committee late last year but did not make it to the Senate floor.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) announced the subcommittee chairs for the 114th Congress. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) will chair the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee.


President Obama gave his State of the Union address and called for a number of education-related measures including increased support for childcare, a proposal to cover the tuition costs of two years of community college, improvements and changes to education-related tax provisions, and legislation to protect students’ online information. To help pay for these (and other) initiatives highlighted in the State of the Union, President Obama is proposing a number of tax-related changes that the White House estimates would raise $320 billion in revenue over 10 years.