Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – November 27, 2017

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


Five Ranking Members of House Committees sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric Hargan regarding HHS’s Request for Information entitled, “Removing Barriers for Religious and Faith-Based Organizations to Participate in HHS Programs and Receive Public Funding.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) released chairman’s marks for the four remaining fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations bills the Committee has not yet marked up – Interior, Homeland Security, Defense and Financial Services. These bills are intended to round out the Senate positions for negotiations over a final FY2018 omnibus appropriations bill.

The Senate Finance Committee released the text and score of their tax cut legislation. The bill is expected to be considered on the Senate Floor this week. A number of Republican Members continue to be concerned about the bill.

Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called for a bipartisan budget deal.


The U.S. Department of Education restored Pell Grant eligibility to nearly 300,000 students who had attended 841 institutions that closed from 2001 to 2016, including the Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes.

The White House requested $44 billion in additional aid for hurricane relief, including providing $1.2 billion for an education recovery fund, and made suggestions to offset the spending, such as rescinding $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant program’s surplus.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray announced that he would resign this month.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released his proposal to repeal the net neutrality rules.

Diane Auer Jones has joined the U.S. Department of Labor as a senior policy adviser. Jones served as Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education in the George W. Bush Administration.

The CFPB reviewed student-loan-servicing activities of Citibank and found that Citibank owed $3.75 million to consumers and another $2.75 million for civil penalty for student loan servicing failures it said led to incorrect late fees and interest charges.


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

  • November 28: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Examining Proposals to Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)”
  • November 29: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing: “Nomination of Alex Azar to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services”