Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – October 5, 2015

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


Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced House leadership elections will take place on Thursday, October 8. Speaker Boehner intends to resign from the speakership and his House seat at the end of the month.

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a subcommittee hearing on rising higher education costs and tax policy on Wednesday, October 7. Witnesses for this hearing have yet to be announced.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a committee hearing on the Head Start Program on Wednesday, October 7, and a committee hearing on how the juvenile justice system serves at-risk youth on Thursday, October 8. Witnesses for both these hearings have yet to be announced.


The authority for participating institutions of higher education to issue new Federal Perkins Loan Program expired this week. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) objected to a request for unanimous consent to advance a House passed bill to extend the program.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold a committee hearing on barriers to wireless broadband on Wednesday, October 7. Witnesses for this hearing have yet to be announced.


The House and Senate passed a short-term continuing resolution to fund government programs and services until December 11, 2015.


The Associated Press reported Education Secretary Arne Duncan will step down at the end of the year and U.S. Department of Education (ED) Senior Advisor John King Jr. will take on Secretary Duncan’s duties.

ED approved a one year high-risk status state waiver renewal under Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Texas, as well as a one year waiver renewal for the six districts that comprise the California Office to Reform Education (CORE).

ED, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued joint principles on student loan servicing.

ED issued a report outlining several changes to student loan servicing and borrower repayment, including repayment of private student loans. Among the report’s recommendations, the Administration is calling for better student loan servicing and greater ability to discharge private student loans during bankruptcy proceedings. Much of what is proposed in this report would require Congressional action.