Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – October 25, 2017

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



The Senate passed its fiscal year 2018 budget resolution by a vote of 51—49. The bill provides reconciliation instructions that allow $1.5 trillion in deficit spending over 10 years for the purpose of passing tax cuts. The bill 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. Roll Call reported that the House may consider the Senate-passed budget resolution as early as this week.

The Senate HELP Committee approved the nomination of Carlos Muñiz to serve as General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), as well as nominees to serve at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, by a vote of 12—11, along party lines. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement supporting the nominees.

Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that they reached a short-term bipartisan health care deal to provide two years of temporary cost-sharing payments and give States more flexibility in terms of consumer choices of insurance. President Trump has publicly opposed the deal, and prominent Republican Senators are questioning its ability to pass the Senate and House.

Nine Democratic Members of the Senate HELP Committee sent a letter to ED Secretary Betsy DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson requesting information on how ED plans to enforce interim guidance following ED’s decision to revoke the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance.


Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland ruled against President Trump’s most recent travel ban, with the Federal judge in Hawaii issuing a temporary restraining order blocking implementation. Administration officials said the new rules would not apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S. and visitors holding valid visas from the countries listed in the ban.

Attorneys general from 17 States and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against ED, alleging illegal delaying of the enforcement of certain provisions in the gainful employment regulations.

ED published, in the Federal Register, a rule that: (1) allows certain regulatory provisions to not apply to foreign higher education institutions that can no longer operate in their home country due to the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and (2) would allow these institutions to temporarily operate in another country if the institution meets certain requirements and is approved by the Secretary.

ED Secretary DeVos announced that all State plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act for the fall deadline were found to be complete and ready for peer review.


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

  • October 24: House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee Hearing: “Public-Private Solutions to Educating a Cyber Workforce”
  • October 26: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Exploring Free Speech on College Campuses”