Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: February 2, 2015

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


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a roundtable-style hearing on February 3 titled, “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students.” This hearing is the third hearing the Committee has held this month on reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Previous hearings covered teacher and school leader issues, and testing and accountability issues. Witnesses for the roundtable are: Dr. Robert Balfanz, Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Ken Bradford, Assistant Superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education; Josh Davis, Vice President, Delta Health Alliance; Katie Duffy, CEO, Democracy Prep Public Schools; Dr. Susan Kessler, Executive Principal, Hunters Lane High School; Dr. James McIntyre, Jr., Superintendent, Knox County Schools; and Henriette Taylor, Community School Coordinator, The Historic Samuel Coleride-Taylor Elementary School.

The Senate HELP Committee held 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. 227, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA). The Committee approved both bills by voice votes, as well as the four nominations: Allison Beck, Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; Adri Jayaratne, Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor; and Mary Lucille Jordan and Michael Young as members of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Also during the Executive Session, Chairman Alexander announced the Chairs and Ranking Members of the subcommittees: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will chair the Subcommittee on Children and Families, and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) will serve as Ranking Member. Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) will chair the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, and Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) will serve as Ranking Member. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will chair the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) will serve as Ranking Member.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) announced the subcommittee rosters for the committee.


The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing on February 4 on “Expanding Opportunity in America’s Schools and Workplaces.” Witnesses have not yet been announced.

Education Week reported that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has indicated that the House is scheduled to vote on a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act the week of February 24. Education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) made an earlier statement that the committee will mark up a bill in the coming weeks.

Republicans and Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee announced leadership and member assignments for the Subcommittees. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) is Chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) is the Ranking Member. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) will chair the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) is the Ranking Member. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) is the Ranking Member. Rep. David Roe (R-TN) is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and Rep. Jared Polis is the Ranking Member.


The President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2016 is expected to be released on February 2. President Obama announced that his budget proposal will call for an end to sequestration.

President Obama’s budget may propose that earnings made on new contributions to 529 college savings plans would be taxed upon withdrawal, but the White House stated this week that they will not be advocating for the change as originally proposed.​