Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – December 12, 2017

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


The House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown and keep the government open until December 22.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up their Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill, the PROSPER Act, on Tuesday, December 12.


The full Senate passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” the Senate’s bill to revise the Federal tax code, on a near-party-line vote of 51-49. House and Senate leadership have named their conferees, and a meeting of the Conference Committee is possible for this week.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing for four of President Trump’s nominees for positions at the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor. Committee Republicans and Democrats released statements on their priorities.

HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that he has named three new majority staff policy directors for the Committee: Grace Stuntz will serve as Health Policy Director, Bob Moran will serve as Education Policy Director and Andy Banducci will serve as Labor and Pensions Policy Director.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said bipartisan negotiations over a legislative fix for individuals participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are occurring.


Members of the negotiated rulemaking committee on the Gainful Employment regulations met for the first time last week. The next meeting of the Committee is February 5.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) stayed a preliminary injunction that blocked enforcement of President Trump’s travel ban pending the Trump Administration’s appeal, allowing the ban to go into full effect. Inside Higher Ed noted that President Trump’s ban imposes various entry restrictions or enhanced vetting requirements on nonimmigrant travelers, including visiting students and scholars, from the affected nations.

The Trump Administration filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging SCOTUS to rescind the authority of public-employee labor groups, including the teachers’ unions, to collect service fees from workers in the bargaining unit who choose not to join.

The Government Accountability Office released a report finding that private school choice programs inconsistently provide information on changes in rights and protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act when parents move a child with a disability from public to private school.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a question-and-answer document on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District requiring that a school must offer an individualized education program that is reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. The document also says that ED will be seeking feedback.


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

  • December 12: House Education and the Workforce Committee Markup: H.R. 4508, “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act”
  • December 13: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Executive Session: Nominations, including Kenneth Marcus to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Department of Education and Johnny Collett to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education