“Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – February 20, 2018”


Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR) released  a statement on the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget request.

Budget Committee Ranking Member John Yarmuth (D-KY) released a statement on the President’s FY2019 budget request.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) released a statement on the President’s FY2019 budget request.

The Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on “Examining the Government’s Management of Native American Schools”. Members of the subcommittee heard from BIE’s Director Tony Dearman about the challenges facing BIE, and what the bureau is doing to provide educational opportunities to Native American students while strengthening its accountability measures.

Committee Democrats released a statement pushing for stronger supports for Native American schools.

The Committee on Science, Space & Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on “Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships for STEM Education and Careers”. The hearing explored how participation in mentoring, training and apprenticeship opportunities impacts STEM students and may assist in addressing the growing need for a diverse and technically trained STEM workforce.

Education and Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a statement on the Parkland, Florida shooting.

All Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee today urged Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to hold hearings on school shootings.


Budget Committee Chairman Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) released a statement on the President’s FY2019 budget request.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) released a statement on the President’s FY2019 budget request.

Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released a statement on the President’s FY2019 budget request and Infrastructure Plan.

Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement on reports confirming that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is officially refusing to respond to complaints filed by transgender students under Title IX.

HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) issued a statement ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives on the Americans with Disabilities Act Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620).

HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) asked the public for comments or suggestions for the Committee’s consideration as they work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

This week, the Senate debated immigration policies in an open amendment process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a procedural motion late Wednesday to set up votes on four amendments to H.R.2579, an unrelated vehicle serving as the “shell” for future immigration legislation. All four amendments required 60 votes to advance. On Thursday night, the Senate rejected all amendments to the bill.

HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray released a statement on the Parkland, Florida shooting.


On Monday, February 12, the Trump Administration submitted its FY2019 budget request to Congress. The budget includes an addendum recommending additional funding in light of the two-year budget deal agreed to by Congress last week which raised spending caps by $300 billion over FY2018 and FY2019. The budget request proposes $63.2 billion in discretionary spending for ED, which is a decrease of $3.6 billion, or 5.4 percent, from the FY2017 enacted funding level.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a statement on the President’s FY2019 budget request for ED.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta  commented on the President’s FY2019 budget request for the U.S. Department of Labor.

This week, President Trump released his infrastructure plan based on 6 principles:

  1. $200 billion in Federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments with partners at the State, local, Tribal and private level.
  2. New investments in rural America.
  3. Returning decision-making authority to State and local governments.
  4. Removing regulatory barriers that get in the way of infrastructure projects.
  5. Streamlining and shortening the permit approval process for infrastructure projects.
  6. Supporting and strengthening America’s workforce.

The final principle to support and strengthen America’s workforce includes a few details related to education. These include:

  1. Making high-quality, short-term programs that provide students with a certification or credential in an in-demand field eligible for Pell Grants.
  2. Reforming the Perkins Career and Technical Education Program to ensure more students have access to high-quality technical education to develop the skills required in today’s economy.
  3. Better targeting Federal Work-Study funds to help more students obtain important workplace experience, including through apprenticeships.

President Trump released a statement on the Shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Secretary DeVos expressed that Congress needs to hold hearings on issues regarding school shootings.

Secretary DeVos delayed, until July 1, 2019, the effective date of selected provisions of the final regulations entitled Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program.

This week, ED stated that Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity, and, if students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, this would fall under sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. However, ED stated that providing separate bathroom facilities based on sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

Last month, ED awarded new 5-year contracts to two debt collection companies, Windham Professionals and Performant Financial Corp, after agreeing last year to terminate five existing debt collection contracts and reevaluate the bids since the awards process was unfair. Seven of the 40 companies that lost the contract awards have filed lawsuits against ED. A Federal judge consolidated the cases and scheduled a hearing on the matter for next week.

ED concluded its third and final session of negotiated rulemaking on borrower defense to repayment regulations. The draft regulations being considered included some tweaks from the version released in January.

This week, a Federal judge in New York temporarily blocked  the Administration from ending DACA, making this the second Federal judge to rule against the way in which the President ended the DACA program. This ruling is being appealed.

ED is accepting applications for the “Student-Centered Funding Pilot,” an initiative authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act.


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