Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – December 6, 2016

A quick look back at the news from last week. Compiled by Penn Hill Group.



The House Republican Steering Committee has selected former House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to be the Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee in the 115th Congress.

The Continuing Resolution could extend through April.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) led a bicameral group of 118 current and former Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. Currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States, this case focuses on the “free appropriate public education” requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) issued a statement opposing the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) final accountability regulation in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Ranking Members Scott and Murray released a statement applauding ED’s finalization of the accountability regulation in ESSA but, also, voicing their concern that the rule does not enhance equity enough.

Ranking Member Scott and HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued statements congratulating Betsy DeVos on her nomination to become the next ED Secretary.

Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Scott and HELP Committee Chairman Alexander issued statements congratulating Representative Tom Price (R-GA) on his nomination to become the next U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) issued a statement congratulating Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) on his election to serve as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for the 115th Congress.


HELP Committee Chairman Alexander released a statement on the final accountability regulation in ESSA saying that he would carefully review this final version before deciding what action is appropriate. He stated that he would have moved to overturn the earlier version of this regulation.

HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray released a statement saying that she looked forward to meeting with and evaluating HHS Secretary Nominee Representative Price.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the results of its investigation on the cost projections of the Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plans administered by ED. GAO found that current IDR plan budget estimates are more than double what was originally expected for loans made in fiscal years 2009 through 2016. GAO also identified weaknesses in ED’s approach to estimating IDR plan costs and quality control practices.


ED published, in the Federal Register, the final accountability and State plans regulations in ESSA.

ED Secretary John King sent a letter to State leaders urging them to end the use of corporal punishment in schools.

ED released a Fact Sheet on reducing recidivism for justice-involved youth, which includes new guides and resources to help them transition back to traditional school settings.


Thomas Wheeler and Townsend McNitt were announced as new additions to the education Transition team for President-elect Trump.

Politico reported that Gerard Robinson has left the education Transition team.