Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – July 17, 2017

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



The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies released then approved the FY2018 Labor-HHS Education bill for submission to the full committee by a party-line vote of 9-6. The bill is a $2.4 billion reduction in spending for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and a $1.3 billion reduction in spending for the U.S. Department of Labor compared to FY2017. Of note, the bill eliminates funding for Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, rescinds $3.3 billion in Pell Grant funding, and increases funding for Charter Schools by $28 million. The full Committee markup on the legislation is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 19.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill on a vote of 31-21. The bill, which funds the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other related agencies is a decrease of $2.6 billion compared to FY2017.

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing to discuss the effectiveness of federal early childhood programs and increased State investment in programs. Committee Republicans released a statement on the hearing. A GAO report released as testimony during the hearing found that federal investments in early learning and child care are “fragmented” across 44 programs at an annual cost of $15 billion, which could lead to overlap and duplication of services.


Senate Republican leaders unveiled a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the GOP Leadership’s vehicle to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the nomination of Patrick Pizzella as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor as well as the nomination of Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would stay in session the first two weeks in August, delaying the traditional summer Congressional recess. House leaders reportedly told House members that they are unlikely to follow the Senate’s recess delay, but may call members back to vote on any health care legislation passed by the Senate.


Justice Department attorneys argued that a group of nine Democratic attorneys general should not be allowed to weigh in on the lawsuit filed by a California association representing for-profit colleges over ED Secretary Betsy DeVos’ delay of the Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) regulations.

ED held two day-long public hearings to receive feedback and begin the process of rewriting higher education regulations on gainful employment and BDR.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said during a meeting with Democrats of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he could not commit to the administration defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

ED Secretary DeVos met with sexual assault survivors, students who say they were falsely accused of violence and college officials in three listening sessions to discuss the impact of ED’s Title IX campus sexual assault guidance. After these meetings, Secretary DeVos indicated the ED is likely to consider changes to existing requirements on universities in this area.