“Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – February 5, 2018”

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


The House could vote as early as next Tuesday on a stopgap bill to fund the government through March 22, 2018. The current Continuing Resolution (CR) would keep the Federal government operating through February 8, 2018.

On Tuesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on protecting privacy and promoting evidence based policy-making.

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx released a statement on President Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address.

Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Scott released a statement on the SOTU Address.


On Tuesday, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held one in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing focused on accountability and risk to taxpayers in the context of reauthorizing the HEA.

Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VTt) released a statement on the need for a bipartisan agreement on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending.

The HELP Committee will hold a hearing on improving college affordability in the context of reauthorizing the HEA on Tuesday, February 6.

Democrats on the HELP Committee wrote a letter to Secretary DeVos asking her to provide them with information about her agency’s efforts to prevent workplace harassment. They sent similar inquiries to the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.

HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) released a staff white paper on accountability measures in higher education and is seeking public input on the HEA reauthorization process.. Chairman Alexander requested this input be submitted to accountability@help.senate.gov no later than 5:00 pm on February 15, 2018.


On Tuesday, President Trump delivered the SOTU.

Secretary of Education DeVos released a statement on President Trump’s SOTU.

Press reports have indicated that President Trump has asked the Senate to vote on an immigration bill that matches the four-part framework for immigration his Administration released earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Department of Education (ED) announced that Frank Brogan, the former Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, has been delegated the duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education where he will supervise Higher Education Programs, the Office of International and Foreign Language Education and the Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation. He will continue to also serve as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, overseeing the Department’s planning, evaluation, policy development, and budget activities.

ED also announced  that Kathleen Smith is now Deputy Chief Operating Officer and will be responsible for managing, under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer, the daily operations of Federal Student Aid (FSA). Most recently, Smith served as Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Postsecondary Education. In addition, ED named Dr. Andrea Ramirez as Acting Director of Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Most she recently served as the Executive Director of the Faith and Education Coalition for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Lastly, ED announced Holly Ham as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She has been at ED since January and previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Management.

ED launched a new interactive web page dedicated to data on English Learner students (ELs).

ED’s second round of Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking is scheduled for next week. In preparation for the four-day meeting, ED released its initial regulatory proposals on each of the eight topics covered under this effort.

ED announced the agency will begin to receive applications for the Weighted Student Funding Pilot created through the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. ED will receive applications from school districts starting February 7.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with a summary of the following event next week:

  • February 6: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Improving College Affordability”


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