“Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – January 29, 2018”

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


The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on protecting privacy and promoting evidence based policy-making on Tuesday, January 30.


On Monday of this week, Senate and House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would keep the Federal government operating through February 8, 2018 as well as extending funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for six years and delay several health care related taxes. This action took place after the previous CR expired on Friday, January 19, leading to a period of curtailed operations commonly referred to as a government shutdown.

As part of the agreement to pass the February 8 CR, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated his intent to hold a vote on a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and border security bill if the Federal government remains funded and no such bill has passed by that date.

Yesterday, the Senate 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 innovation in higher education and included a discussion on short-term credentials, competency-based education and using third parties of provide instruction and learning services through institutions of higher education (IHEs).

Alex Azar was confirmed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a 55 to 43 vote with six Democrats voting in favor of his nomination.

Sen. Murray released a statement opposing Alex Azar’s Nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The HELP Committee held a hearing yesterday on the nomination of Frank Brogan, former Lieutenant Governor of Florida, to be the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

The HELP Committee will hold a hearing on accountability and risk to taxpayers in the context of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act on Tuesday, January 30.

Senator Schumer (D-NY) expressed his opposition to the Administration’s immigration framework.


SurvJustice, Equal Rights Advocates and the Victim Rights Law Center filed a lawsuit over temporary Title IX guidelines issued last year by ED and the rescinding by the Trump Administration of related guidance issued by the Obama Administration.

ED released its 2018 Gainful Employment template for IHEs to use when reporting on programs covered by the Gainful Employment Regulation.

President Trump made several DACA-related announcements this week. First, he indicated that he may provide Congress additional time to pass DACA related legislation if a bill is not approved by the March 5 DACA expiration deadline. In addition, President Trump expressed his support for a 10 to 12 year path to citizenship for DACA participants. Related to these matters, the White House announced that it intends to release a “framework” on DACA and border security issues on Monday, January 29thPress reports have indicated that this framework will call for a path to citizenship for DACA participants, a $25 billion fund for a border wall and other border security upgrades, and limiting the ability of U.S. citizens to petition for residency status to spouses and minor children.

Secretary DeVos approved six ESSA State plans.

Kent Talbert joined ED as Senior Policy Advisor on Tuesday, January 23. He will be Acting Deputy Secretary at ED until an individual is confirmed by the Senate for this position.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office this week released a study on the U.S. accreditation system.

President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30.

ED announced the formation of a “Strategy and Transformation Unit” to improve the delivery of financial aid.  Current Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer A. Wayne Johnson will head the new unit. James Manning, the current acting Under Secretary, will lead FSA as Acting Chief Operating Officer.

ED published a notice in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of the changes made to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects promulgated by the Obama Administration.


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

  • January 30: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Accountability and Risk to Taxpayers”
  • January 30: Education and Workforce Committee Hearing: “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education”


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