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

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


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was elected as Speaker of the House.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee passed H.R. 3459, the Protecting Local Business and Opportunity Act, by a vote of 21 to 15.


Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 by a vote of 266 to 167 in the House and 63 to 35 in the Senate. The bill will increase spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary spending by a combined $80 billion over fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and raise the debt ceiling until March 2017, among other provisions. Additionally, the bill will remove the current consent requirement needed for loan servicers of federal loans to auto-dial borrowers on their cellphones. The President signed the bill into law today.


The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Institute of Education Sciences released the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Nationally, the 2015 NAEP scores showed a decline in eighth grade reading scores and fourth and eighth grade math scores, compared to the last time NAEP was administered, in 2013. According to the Trial Urban District assessment, performance in urban areas largely improved.

ED released a “Testing Action Plan” aimed at ensuring tests are high-quality and informative, but that no child spends more than 2 percent of his or her classroom time taking statewide standardized tests.

ED published final regulations on program integrity issues in Title IV student aid programs and borrower repayment. On program integrity, the rule largely established new cash management rules for institutions of higher education and any third parties they use to disburse Title IV credit balances to students. On borrower repayment, the rule established the Administration’s Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) program, which establishes another income based repayment option that restricts monthly payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income and provides forgiveness after 20 or 25 years, depending on the underlying loan.

ED announced a dual enrollment experimental site that will allow high school students taking courses for credit at participating institutions of higher education to be eligible to receive Pell Grants.

ED launched the #GoOpen campaign to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed education materials. ED is proposing a new regulation that would require all copyrightable intellectual property created with ED grant funds to have an open license.