Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – March 6, 2017

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


In a meeting with presidents from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) expressed his support for year-round Pell Grants.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a statement encouraging the Administration to secure investments for HBCUs in the budget process.

Ranking Member Scott and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting information about her plans to audit ED’s programs, which she discussed on a radio talk show last month.

Ranking Member Scott and Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Ranking Member Susan Davis (D-CA), along with other Committee Democrats, sent a letter to Secretary DeVos regarding the Trump Administration’s recent decision to rescind the guidance related to transgender students.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) named the Vice Chairs of the 12 Appropriations subcommittees for the 115th Congress.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold its outside and public witnesses hearings on Wednesday, March 8.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued a statement supporting President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress.

The House Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee held a hearing on career and technical education. The documents and webcast can be found here.


HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement supporting President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress.

Ten senators, led by Chairman Alexander, introduced S.J.Res.25, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval of the Obama Administration’s recently promulgated regulations relating to accountability and State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Ranking Member Murray, along with ranking members from seven other committees, sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to commit to maintaining an independent Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) sent a letter to Secretary DeVos recommending that she conduct a comprehensive audit of all student loan-related data maintained by ED.


President Trump and Secretary DeVos visited St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando – a school at which most students attend with assistance from the State’s tax credit scholarship program.

The White House announced that the release of the Administration’s “skinny budget” proposal will now take place on March 16.

ED’s Office of Inspector General released an audit report on Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) processes. The report recommended that FSA improve its processes for reviewing a school’s composite score calculation and implement controls to prevent schools from manipulating composite scores.

The White House Domestic Policy Council hosted a listening session with presidents and chancellors of HBCUs.

President Trump signed an executive order on The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which establishes: (1) that the Initiative be housed in the Executive Office of the President and led by an Executive Director designated by the President, (2) an interagency working group, and (3) a President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs.

President Trump signed into law H.R. 321, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act, and H.R. 255, the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act.

Secretary DeVos released a statement supporting President Trump’s signing of H.R. 321 and H.R. 255.

President Trump made his first official speech to a joint session of Congress, at which he called on Congress to pass legislation to expand school choice options.

Secretary DeVos released a statement, following President Trump’s address, supporting his call for expanded school choice.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with a summary of the following event next week:

  • March 9: House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee hearing on “National Science Foundation Part 1: Overview and Oversight”