E-Update for September 08, 2017
Please note, this week’s E-Update includes important updates from the week of August 28th.
- On September 8, the House voted to pass H.R. 601 (115) to temporarily lift the country’s debt ceiling and deliver $15.25 billion in emergency aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by a vote of 316-90. The Senate passed the same legislation the previous day by a vote of 80-17. The bill also includes a Continuing Resolution to fund the government until December 8th.
- On September 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 18 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations bill. The Committee approved the Labor-H bill by a vote of 29-2.
- On September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration has decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was established under the Obama Administration.
Budget & Appropriations:
House Approves Bill Lifting Debt Ceiling and Providing Emergency Aid: The House voted to pass H.R. 601 (115) to temporarily lift the country’s debt ceiling and deliver $15.25 billion in emergency aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by a vote of 316-90. The bill also includes a Continuing Resolution to fund the government until December 8th. The Senate previously voted to advance the bill on September 7 by a vote of 80-17 and the bill will now go to the President to sign.
September 8, 2017
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Labor-H Bill: The Senate Appropriations Committee held a markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 18 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations bill. The Committee approved the Labor-H bill by a vote of 29-2. No education related amendments were approved during the markup. More information on funding levels can be found in the majority press release here and minority press release here. Additionally, the Managers Package can be found here. The report is available here.
September 7, 2017
House Considers Appropriations Package: The House continued consideration of the FY2018 Omnibus package on the floor, which includes the House Labor-H Appropriations bill. Thus far, there are several education and workforce-related amendments that have been ruled in order for consideration on the House floor, but have yet to be brought for a vote. These potential amendments include an amendment to restore funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, amendments to provide additional funding for Title I State Assessment grants, Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, and magnet schools. There are also potential amendments to reduce funding for the Institute of Education Sciences and to cut funding by 1% across the entire Labor-H bill. The Trump Administration’s statement supporting the bill is available here.
September 7, 2017
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
8 More ESSA Consolidated State Plans Approved: In the past two weeks, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced the approval of the following ESSA consolidated state plans: District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee, Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, and Arizona. Press releases are available here, here, here, and here.
- In response to the approval of Tennessee’s state plan, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement congratulating the state’s progress. His statement is available here.
Democratic Members Introduce Bill to Make Higher Education More Affordable: A group of Democratic representatives, including Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA), introduced H.R. 3709, the “America’s College Promise Act of 2017.” The bill would make two years of community college free to students and help increase affordability of four-year college degrees.
September 7, 2017
House Education and the Workforce Committee Holds Hearing on the Sharing Economy: The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing titled, “The Sharing Economy: Creating Opportunities for Innovation and Flexibility.” The hearing focused on opportunities to promote the growth of the shared economy and the success of self-employed individuals while ensuring workers’ rights. The minority press release is available here. Chairwoman of the Committee Virginia Foxx’s (R-NC) opening statement can be found here. Webcast and witness testimony are available here.
September 6, 2017
Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on CHIP: The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing titled, “The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): the Path Forward” to discuss reauthorization of the program as funding for CHIP ends at the end of FY2017.
September 7, 2017
Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearings on Health Care: The Senate HELP Committee held two hearings on the topic of health care titled, “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: Governors” and “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: State Insurance Companies.” These hearings were part of a series of bipartisan hearings on health care led by Chairman of the Committee Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray. More information on the hearings can be found here and here, respectively.
September 6 and 7, 2017
Trump Administration Rescinds DACA: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration has decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was established under the Obama Administration, noting that the program would be unlikely to withstand an impending court challenge by 10 state attorneys general and represents federal overreach. DACA recipients whose permits expire in March 2018 will be allowed to renew their permits, giving Congress six months to pass legislation to preserve DACA. Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott’s statement here.
September 5, 2017
- On September 7, EducationCounsel released a memo titled, “Undocumented Students’ Rights of Equal Access to K-12 Public Schools” in response to the Trump Administration’s decision. The memo clarifies that the decision does not in any way undercut the clear legal rights of undocumented students to attend K-12 public schools free of impediment and harassment and outlines the settled rights of students, regardless of immigration status, to equal access to public education. The memo is available here.
- Also in response to the decision, five former secretaries of education, including Arne Duncan, John King, and Richard Riley, wrote a joint letter to Congress asking members to pass legislation that would help students in the DACA program.
- On September 7, Democratic members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to their Chairmen requesting hearings on DACA. The press release and letter are available here.
- Additionally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the Department has not changed its policy regarding concerns data collected for the DACA program amid concerns that the data could be shared with enforcement agencies.
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Expands Enforcement and Protections for Borrowers: USED Secretary DeVos announced a new approach to how the office of Federal Student Aid enforces compliance by institutions participating in federal student aid programs. The changes include stronger consumer protections for students, parents, and borrowers. Regarding the changes, USED Secretary DeVos stated, “This new approach will enhance our efforts on our oversight responsibilities, including enforcement against bad actors, such as illegitimate debt relief organizations, schools defrauding students and institutions willfully ignoring their Clery Act responsibilities.” The Secretary also announced new staff for the office of Federal Student Aid, including Dr. Michael Dean to serve as the chief enterprise risk officer and Dr. Charles Patterson to serve as the advisor for executive-level compliance and enforcement outreach.
August 31, 2017
USED Activates Emergency Response Contact Center: In response to Hurricane Harvey, USED activated its emergency response contact center to assist school districts and higher education institutions with recovery efforts. Additionally, the Department will provide administrative flexibilities related to federal student aid rules for those colleges and universities affected by the hurricane. USED Secretary DeVos also visited Texas and Louisiana on September 2, along with President Trump. The press release is available here.
August 29, 2017
- USED has also released guidance for colleges and federal financial aid recipients affected by the hurricane with information on regulatory relief, such as the opportunity to temporarily suspend student loan collections.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):
CFPB released a financial toolkit to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, including information on temporary student loan forbearance. The toolkit is available here.
September 1, 2017
- On September 12, the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On September 12, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: State Flexibility” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On September 12, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Health Care: Issues Impacting Cost and Coverage” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On September 13, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Long-term Impact of Immigration: Exploring Reforms to our Nation’s Guest Worker Programs and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and their Potential Impact on the American Economy and Local Communities” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On September 14, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: Health Care Stakeholders” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- This week, USED released two Homeroom blogs with information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The first, titled, “3 FAFSA Deadlines You Need to Be Aware of,” informs students of important deadlines for completing the FAFSA. The blog post is available here. The second post, titled “7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2018-19 FAFSA Form,” lists the materials that students need in order to complete the form. The blog post is available here.
- On September 7, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking released its final report titled, “The Promise of Evidence-Based Policymaking.” The report includes recommendations for improving data privacy, modernizing data infrastructure, and establishing federal requirements regarding evidence-based policymaking. The report is available here.
- On August 31, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics released a report titled, “College Applications by 2009 High School Freshmen: Differences by Race/Ethnicity.” The report finds that 79% of 2009 freshmen applied for postsecondary education by the fall of 2013. The report is available here.
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to clarify when certain academic assessments shall be administered.
Sponsor: Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)
A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
A bill providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 601) to enhance the transparency and accelerate the impact of assistance provided under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to promote quality basic education in developing countries, to better enable such countries to achieve universal access to quality basic education and improved learning outcomes, to eliminate duplication and waste, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
A bill to reauthorize the farm to school program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
A bill to prohibit the employment of school bus drivers with serious moving violations.
Sponsor: Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)
A bill to establish a tax credit for on-site apprenticeship programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
America’s College Promise Act of 2017
A bill to provide greater access to higher education for America’s students.
Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)
A bill to reauthorize appropriations for the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)