Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – October 2, 2017

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


House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a statement opposing the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) decision to rescind the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance.


The Senate Budget Committee released text of its draft fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution, which does not include reconciliation instructions to produce savings in Federal spending for the House Education and the Workforce Committee or the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

After a number of Republican Senators voiced their opposition, Senate Republican leadership announced that the Senate will not vote on Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy’s (R-LA) health care reform bill.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement on the Perkins Loan Program, which expired on September 30.

Senate Democrats sent a letter to ED Secretary Betsy DeVos opposing ED’s decision to rescind the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance and ED’s new guidance around Title IX enforcement entitled, “Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct,” as well as urging DeVos to reinstate the previous guidance.

The Senate HELP Committee postponed a scheduled vote on President Trump’s nominee to serve as General Counsel of ED Carlos Muñiz, along with several other nominees to the U.S. Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The vote has been rescheduled for Tuesday, October 3.


The White House formally nominated Jim Blew for the position of Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at ED.

Following the expiration of his travel ban, President Trump issued a new order indefinitely banning most travel to the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea starting October 18. Administration officials said the new rules would not apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S. and visitors holding valid visas from those countries. In response, the Supreme Court of the United States cancelled oral arguments on President Trump’s first travel ban and asked lawyers in the case involving President Trump’s previous ban to submit briefs on the new order by October 5.

President Trump and Congressional Republican leadership announced the framework of a new tax package which includes: the creation of three tax rates, 35, 25 and 12 percent; the elimination of the estate tax; the elimination of the State and local tax deduction; an increase in the standard deduction; the elimination of the additional standard deduction and personal exemption; and an increase to the child tax credit. The framework also mentions continued support for current higher education tax breaks and maintaining existing charitable deductions.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has accused 10 individuals, including a top Adidas executive and four assistant basketball coaches, with making bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents, financial advisers and/or business managers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) would file a “statement of interest” in a lawsuit involving a Georgia public college’s use of “free speech zones” and that DOJ intends to make more such filings.

ED released non-regulatory guidance in an effort to help ED grantees and program participants “remove barriers to restoring teaching and learning environments and to expediting the recovery process” for those impacted by the recent hurricanes.

ED Secretary DeVos announced the hiring of Dr. Michael Wooten, as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, and Dr. Leonard Haynes, as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary.

ED Secretary DeVos appointed the six members of the National Assessment Governing Board: Dana Boyd, Gregory Cizek, Tyler Cramer, John Engler, James Geringer and Beverly Perdue.

Education Week reported that the presidential advisory commissions on educational excellence for black, Hispanic, and Asian American and Pacific Islander students in K-12 schools and college have not met since President Trump took office. Members of the groups have reached out to the White House but have yet to receive a response.

ED released the FY2014 3-year Federal student loan cohort default rate, finding that the rate increased slightly from 11.3 percent to 11.5 percent for students who entered repayment between FY2013 and FY2014.

ED updated the College Scorecard with new data and a new comparison feature.

President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum directing ED Secretary DeVos to establish priorities within existing competitive grant programs at ED in order to increase access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, with a particular focus on increasing opportunities in Computer Science.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with summaries of the following events next week:

  • October 3: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Executive Session Nominations, including Carlos G. Muniz nominated to be General Counsel Department of Education”
  • October 3: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing “The Every Student Succeeds Act: Unleashing State Innovation”