E-Update for the Week of November 11, 2019
- On November 8, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague Letter to the Democratic caucus to inform them they will be voting, the week of November 18, on a continuing resolution (CR) to maintain government funding after the current CR expires on November 21.
- On November 7, CQ reported that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) will meet on Tuesday, November 12 to discuss the topline spending allocations for each of 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills and the length of the next CR.
- On November 6, POLITICO reported that USED sent the final rule regarding Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval. This marks the final step before the final rule is published in the Federal Register.
Budget and Appropriations:
House Majority Leader sets vote on next CR for week of Nov. 18: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague Letter to the Democratic caucus to inform them they will be voting, the week of November 18, on a continuing resolution (CR) to maintain government funding after the current CR expires on November 21. “This action will, unfortunately, be necessary to keep the government open as we work toward agreement on 302(b) allocations, which will allow us to move appropriations bills that are in line with the bipartisan budget caps agreement,” wrote the Majority Leader. There has been no confirmation of how long the next CR will extend government funding. The letter is here.
November 8, 2019
Big Four Appropriators to meet Tuesday to discuss spending allocations: CQ reported that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) will meet on Tuesday, November 12 to discuss the topline spending allocations for each of 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills and the length of the next CR. The topline numbers, referred to as 302(b) allocations, have been a point of contention for all negotiations regarding FY2020 appropriations bills. The government is currently funded by a continuing resolution (CR), which expires on November 21.
November 7, 2019
Congressmen seek answers on Opportunity Zone in Nevada: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting more information related to the identification of Storey County, Nevada as an Opportunity Zone. According to the Congressman, Nevada was allowed an exception to the Opportunity Zone qualification criteria allowing it to then qualify Storey County as a qualified Opportunity Zone. The Congressmen cite a Washington Post article that reported Storey County is the only census tract that was able to use a different qualifying measurement. According to the U.S. Census, Storey County has an average income of $63,607, which is higher than the average income of the United States. Opportunity Zones are reserved for those areas that are considered to be impoverished based on census tract data. A press release is here. The letter is here. Census information on Storey County is here.
November 6, 2019
Congressional Democrats urge GAO to study impact, effectiveness of Opportunity Zones: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the effectiveness of the Opportunity Zones program, compared to other federal incentive programs. “Given the breadth of the Opportunity Zone incentive, the lack of reporting requirements under current law, as well as the high levels of reported interest from taxpayers, we believe it is critical that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) assist Congress in evaluating the incentive and monitoring its implementation and outcomes,” wrote the Congressmen. A press release is here. The letter is here.
November 6, 2019
Budget Committee moves two-year budget cycle bill out of Committee: The Senate Budget Committee favorably reported S.2765, the “Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act.” The bill would impact the annual congressional budget process by requiring Congress to develop a two-year budget, instead of the current one-year budget; ensuring that Congress has better information on which to base its budget; generating an automatic debt limit bill when facing default; and creating a new special reconciliation process for reducing deficit only. “It represents a package of necessary, pragmatic, and significant reforms that do not tilt the scales toward any one party, ideology, or policy outcome,” stated Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY). The bill was co-sponsored by five Democrats and 12 Republicans. It is unclear as to when the bill will be considered by the entire Senate. A press release is here. A statement by Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is here. The bill text is here.
November 6, 2019
Senator Jones urges McConnell to take up MSI, HBCU funding bill: Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) led a letter of 37 Senate Democrats urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to call for a vote on S.1279, the “Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act.” The bill would reauthorize mandatory funding for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), which expired on September 30. The bill has been previously blocked by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has proposed his own bill to create a permanent authorization of the funding. A press release is here. The letter is here.
Relatedly, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued a statement arguing that Senate Democrats are responsible for the failure to permanently fund MSIs and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). “The right way to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities is to pass permanent funding for these institutions as part of a package of bills that I’ve introduced, which includes simplifying the FAFSA, a bill that Senator Doug Jones and I have introduced which will help 20 million families including almost every student at HBCUs,” stated the Chairman. Senate Democrats have objected to the permanent authorization that Chairman Alexander has proposed as part of a package of Higher Education Act (HEA) bill. Their objection has been that a comprehensive HEA reauthorization is necessary. The full statement is here.
November 5 and 6, 2019
The House went into recess on November 1 for the November District Work Period. The House will return to session on November 12.
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos to cancel Dream Center student loans: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that USED Secretary Betsy DeVos will cancel the student loans held by students who attended schools impacted by the Dream Center School closures in 2018. According to the Department, more than 1,500 borrowers will have their loans cancelled. “The Department is committed to holding institutions and accreditors accountable to the students they serve. In this instance, students were failed and deserve to be made whole,” stated the Secretary. In response, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) expressed that the cancellation is necessary, but “falls well short of what Congress requested, and well short of what students deserve.” The announcement is here. The statement by Chairman Scott is here.
November 8, 2019
Progressive think tank director to join Department’s student loan overhaul project: POLITICO reported that Colleen Campbell, director of postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress (CAP) will be joining the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to oversee strategic communications for the NextGen project. NextGen is the Department’s initiative to modernize and revamp the federal student loan system and functions, including the development of a new platform for student borrowers to manage their loans. A POLITICO article is here.
November 6, 2019
USED sends final Title IX rule to OMB for approval, one step closer to publication: POLITICO reported that USED sent the final rule regarding Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval. This marks the final step before the final rule is published in the Federal Register. The rule, which was released for public comment in late 2018, would direct institutions receiving federal funds to reconfigure a number of investigatory and enforcement efforts related to sexual harassment and assault on campuses. When the public comment period closed, the proposed rule received over 124,000 comments. The proposed rule is here. A POLITICO article is here.
November 6, 2019
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):
DOL allegedly moves $1 million to unfunded apprenticeship program, prompts congressional investigation: Bloomberg Law reported that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) misused over $1 million in appropriated funds to operate the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP). The funds were allegedly taken from the Registered Apprenticeship program. According to the article, DOL stated no funds appropriated would be used for the IRAP initiative, which was created under Executive Order and has not received any congressionally approved funding. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) issued a statement after the article’s publishing, stating, “There is clear evidence that the Department made several false statements to Congress and diverted millions of taxpayer dollars away from the popular and successful Registered Apprenticeship programs, which has overwhelming bipartisan support.” In his statement, the Chairman also announced that the Committee would be conducting an oversight hearing on the matter on November 20 and has invited DOL Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch to testify. The Bloomberg Law article is here. The full statement by Chairman Scott is here.
November 6, 2019
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On October 8, the U.S. Secret Service released a report titled, “Protecting America’s Schools: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence.” The report summarizes an analysis of 41 incidents of targeted school violence between 2008 and 2017. Key findings of the report include identifying that there is no one profile of a student attacker, nor is there a profile of school that has been targeted; that attackers usually had multiple motives, including grievances with classmates; that most attackers used firearms, and firearms were mostly acquired from the home; and, that most attackers were victims of bullying. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On November 7, the Rural School and Community Trust published a report titled, “Why Rural Matters 2018-2019: The Time is Now.” The report summarizes data related to students in rural America. Key findings of the study include identifying that almost 7.5 million students attend public schools in rural communities; that rural students were much less likely to pass Advanced Placement (AP) courses; and that 23 percent of rural students earned dual enrollment credit, compared to 16.1 percent of students nationwide. The full report is here.
- On November 6, the Education Trust published a report titled, “Young Learners, Missed Opportunities.” The report summarizes a study of access to high-quality early childhood education for Black and Latinx children in 26 states. Key findings of the report include identifying that only 1 percent of Latinx children and 4 percent of Black children were enrolled in high-quality state-funded preschool programs; that in 11 of the states analyzed, Latinx children were underrepresented in the preschool programs; and that access is lower for both Black and Latinx 3-year-olds compared to 4-year-olds. The full report is here.
- On November 6, the Pew Charitable Trusts published a report titled, “Student Loan System Presents Repayment Challenges.” The report summarizes a study of 400,000 student loan borrowers in Texas to analyze their repayment behaviors. Key findings of the report include identifying that almost 25 percent of borrowers defaulted within five years of entering repayment; that 21 percent of borrowers owed more than their original balances after five years in repayment due to missed or paused payments; and that only 22 percent of borrowers never missed or paused payments. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On November 19, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Debt Relief to Defrauded Students.” The hearing will focus on efforts of the U.S. Department of Education (USED) related to assisting students who attended the now closed Corinthian Colleges. The Committee notes that USED Secretary DeVos has been invited to testify. Additionally, Chairman Scott has threatened to issue a subpoena to compel the Secretary’s testimony, if needed. A press release by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. More information will be posted here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On November 13 at 12:00pm, the Education Trust and the Albert Shanker Institute will hold an event titled, “Supplement, Not Supplant: The Continuing Challenges of Getting Federal Education Dollars to the Intended Beneficiaries.” The event will discuss how states and districts have a historic trend of shifting federal funds so that funds are supplanting otherwise available funding for low-income schools and districts. The discussion will focus around what continued law and regulation is needed to ensure that the intent of “supplement, not supplant” is fully realized. It is expected that Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) will participate in the event. More information and registration are here.
- On November 14 at 9:00am, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) will hold an event titled, “Separate and Unequal: How School Investment and Integration Matter for Educational Opportunity and Attainment.” The event will focus on what has occurred in states after Brown v. Board of Education and what still needs to happen for school integration to be fully implemented. It is expected Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) will deliver remarks. More information and registration are here.
- On November 14 at 2:00pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an event titled, “Is there a conservative case for mass student debt forgiveness? A conversation with A. Wayne Johnson, former head of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid.” The event will feature Johnson, who recently departed the Department to begin a run for Senate in Georgia. As part of his campaign, Johnson has proposed that the government forgive most outstanding student debt and terminate the student loan program. More information and registration are here.
- On November 14 at 3:00pm, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) will hold an event titled, “Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Competence, and Equity in Teacher Preparation.” The webinar will discuss how teacher educators can integrate social and emotional learning (SEL) into educator preparation programs and how to better support fledgling teachers in addressing the “whole child” in their pedagogy. More information and registration are here.
A bill to direct the Director of the National Science Foundation to support STEM education and workforce development research focused on rural areas, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants to local educational agencies to establish “Family Friendly School” policies at 500 elementary schools that align the school day with the work day to better support working families and to disseminate the learnings from these model schools so that other local educational agencies may adopt these practices, and to establish a supplemental 21st century community learning centers grant program to support programs and activities during summer recess when school is not in session.
Sponsor: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)