Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – March 30, 2015

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


The Washington Post reported Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said he hopes a full House vote on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Student Success Act, will occur in April, after the House returns from recess.

The House passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 by a vote of 392 to 37, including an additional $800 million for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and restored funding for the lapsed Secure Rural Schools program. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.

The House is in recess until April 13.


Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released three staff white papers related to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act on accreditation, risk-sharing and data collection of consumer information. He has requested interested parties submit comments on these papers by 5:00 pm on April 24, 2015.

The Senate Democratic caucus wrote a letter to Senator Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) urging them to include investment and support for quality early childhood learning programs in reauthorization of ESEA. Education Week reported Senator Alexander said he would prefer to address early childhood education separately.

The Senate is in recess until April 13.


The full House passed the House Fiscal Year 2016 Budget by a vote of 228 to 199. The full Senate also passed their Budget Resolution by a vote of 52 to 46. Both resolutions include reconciliation instructions to their respective education committees to produce legislation savings of $1 billion over ten years and requirements to produce “fair-value accounting” estimates when the Congressional Budget Office scores student loan-related legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he looked forward to House and Senate leaders reconciling the differing versions. 


President Obama announced over $240 million in new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) private-sector commitments and a $25 million grant competition through the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to support the creation of science and literacy-themed media, specifically targeted towards young, low-income children.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a $27 million adult reentry grant program called Training to Work. These grants will fund career pathway models that link and coordinate education and training services for soon-to-be-released inmates to obtain industry-recognized credentials.