Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up- August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016

Compiled by Penn Hill Group


The House and Senate will be in recess until after the September 5th Labor Day Holiday.

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) requesting that the proposed accountability rule under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) be changed to allow more time for States working to develop their new accountability system.

Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray and the House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to ED applauding the proposed accountability provisions in ESSA for the flexibility they provide for State and local decision-making but also asked for more clarity to ensure that improving outcomes for disadvantaged students is supported.

Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray along with 19 Senators sent a letter to ED to express support for the proposed borrower defense rule and to suggest ways to strengthen the rule.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander sent a letter to ED to express his concerns about the proposed borrower defense rule.


As provided for in ESSA, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility waivers expired on August 1, 2016.

ED announced the next step in President Obama’s Testing Action Plan, which is a grant competition that seeks to improve the quality of testing items, ensure effective public reporting of scores and results, and reduce unnecessary testing. Applications are due by September 22, 2016.

ED announced final priorities, requirements and a definition under the Disability Innovation Fund for competitions to develop, implement and evaluate work-based learning models that will help students with disabilities prepare for postsecondary education and competitive integrated employment in Fiscal Year 2016 and later years.

The Department of Veterans Affairs released a notice stating that Veterans and Service members’ requests for refunds of their contributions to the Post-Vietnam Veterans Education Program will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review and comment.

ED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report that shows that Early Learning Challenge States are improving the quality of and expanding access to early learning programs.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced proposed regulations that revise the rules for reporting qualified tuition and related expenses as well as amends the regulation on education tax credits. There will be a public hearing on these proposed regulations.

ED issued a Dear Colleague Letter on behavioral supports for students with disabilities. In the letter, ED stipulates that students with disabilities who are subjected to repeated disciplinary actions and do not have sufficient behavioral supports as part of their individualized education program may not be receiving a free appropriate public education.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a Final Rule on State agency’s administrative review process in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program; a Final Rule on local school wellness policy requirements; a Final Rule on eliminating applications through community eligibility for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program; and a Final Rule And Interim Final Rule on nutrition standards for all foods sold in school.


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