Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – October 31, 2017

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



The House passed the Senate-approved fiscal year 2018 budget resolution by a vote of 216—212. The bill provides reconciliation instructions that allow $1.5 trillion in deficit spending over 10 years for the purpose of passing tax cuts. The passage of this budget resolution provides a path for Congress to begin moving a tax reconciliation bill, which could be publicly released in the House as early as this week.

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 guidance for individuals with disabilities served under the Rehabilitation Act and students with disabilities served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

61 Members of Congress sent a letter to the Trump Administration urging them to prioritize providing relief to schools in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which have been devastated by the recent hurricanes.

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection held a joint hearing on public- and private-sector solutions to educating a cyber workforce. Subcommittee Republicans and Democrats released statements on their priorities.


Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced a legislative measure to provide two years of cost sharing payments to health insurers, as well as repeal certain elements of the Affordable Care Act. This bill provides an alternative to the bipartisan deal announced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on free speech on college campuses. Committee Republicans and Democrats released statements on their priorities.

Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement opposing ED’s decision to rescind guidance under the Rehabilitation Act and IDEA.

Ranking Member Murray released a statement opposing ED’s decision to delay the Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) regulations.

Nine Democratic Members of the Senate HELP Committee sent a letter to ED Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to address the issues of harassment, bullying and intimidation in schools.


President Trump nominated Kenneth Marcus to serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at ED. Marcus is the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

ED published, in the Federal Register, two rules related to the BDR regulations: (1) an interim rule delaying the BDR regulations until July 1, 2018; and (2) a proposed rule that would further delay the BDR regulations until July 2019. Comments on the proposed rule are due by November 24.

ED formally announced the members of the negotiated rulemaking committee on the BDR regulations.

ED announced that it will withdraw nearly 600 pieces of subregulatory guidance across ED’s different program areas as part of the ongoing Administration-wide effort to review regulations and guidance for possible repeal, modification or replacement. 72 of the rescinded guidance documents are under the Rehabilitation Act and IDEA. ED subsequently announced their reasoning for rescinding the 72 document.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit involving a student alleging that Pierce College in California violated his First Amendment rights by preventing him from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus.