Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – March 2, 2015

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


The U.S. House of Representatives began consideration of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), on Thursday last week, and continued considering amendments to the bill on Friday. Forty-three amendments were offered to the bill: of those, 25 were adopted, 5 failed, 3 were withdrawn, and recorded votes on 10 amendments were postponed. According to a Whip notice sent on Friday afternoon, the House postponed further consideration of H.R. 5 due to ongoing consideration of Department of Homeland Security appropriations legislation. The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 5, which states that White House senior advisors recommend vetoing the bill.

The House passed H.R. 529 by a vote of 401-20; the bill makes changes to 529 college savings plans, including allowing computers as a qualified expense, and removing any penalty for re-depositing funds if a student drops out.

The House passed H.R. 1020, the STEM Education Act of 2015, by a vote of 412-8. The bill redefines STEM education to include computer science education and maintains informal STEM education programs at the National Science Foundation.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify in front of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee on March 4 on the budget for the U.S. Department of Education.


During a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on February 24 to discuss the findings of the task force on higher education de-regulation, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that he intends to pass a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) this year, and will hold further committee hearings on the topic beginning in April.


The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) has requested comments (due on March 9) on their draft NACIQI policy recommendations report. They will also hold a virtual meeting on March 23, 2015 to discuss the report.