E-Update for the Week of November 22, 2021

EducationCounsel will not publish an E-Update the week of November 29. We will resume publishing on December 6. 
Highlights:

On November 19, the House passed H.R. 5376, the “Build Back Better Act,” – a $1.7 trillion social spending package – by a vote of 220-213, with the support of all but one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME).
On November 17, the Biden Administration announced the nomination of Rebecca Jones Gaston to be the Commissioner of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
On November 15, President Biden signed H.R. 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” which provides $550 billion in new investments in the nation’s physical infrastructure and competitiveness.

Budget:
 House adopts Build Back Better Act, sending package to Senate but final passage timeline uncertain: The House passed H.R. 5376, the “Build Back Better Act,” – a $1.7 trillion social spending package – by a vote of 220-213, with the support of all but one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME). The bill was unanimously opposed by all House Republicans. A vote on the […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 15, 2021

Highlights:

On November 17 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, Higher Education and Workforce Investment will hold a joint subcommittee hearing titled, “Examining the Implementation of COVID-19 Education Funds.”
On November 10, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led a letter with other Republican Committee members asking the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide guidance on a “test-to-stay option” for unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19.
On November 5, USED Secretary Miguel Cardona and US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published an op-ed in USA Today advocating for an increased focus on children’s mental health as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
Administration:
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
Cardona, Murthy call for increased focused on children’s mental health:  U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Miguel Cardona and United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published an op-ed in USA Today advocating for an increased focus on children’s mental health as the nation recovers from the pandemic. In the piece, Secretary Cardona and Surgeon General Murthy highlight […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 8, 2021

Highlights:

During the week of November 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continued negotiations with moderate and progressive Members of the Democratic party in an effort to seek a vote on the Build Back Better Act.
On November 5, the House adopted the bipartisan infrastructure package, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
On November 2, House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership of the Appropriations Committee met to discuss a path forward for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations process.

Budget & Appropriations:
House Democrats continue negotiations on Build Back Better Act, vote scheduled for week of November 15:
During the week of November 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continued negotiations with moderate and progressive Members of the Democratic party in an effort to seek a vote on the Build Back Better Act.  Several moderate House Democratic Members have called for the need for a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill prior to a vote and “continue to urge [the Speaker] to only bring a bill to the floor for which we have a strong level […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 1, 2021

Highlights:

On October 28, President Biden released an updated framework for the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which was then followed by the release of legislative text. The top-line spending level for the package is estimated to be $1.75 trillion.
On October 27, USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray testified before the House Education and Labor Higher Education and Workforce Investment subcommittee in a hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Office of Federal Student Aid.”
On October 26, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee advanced by a voice vote the nominations of Amy Loyd to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the U.S. Department of Education (USED).

Budget:
White House releases $1.75 trillion framework for negotiated Build Back Better Act, includes funding for universal pre-k, expanded child care: President Biden released an updated framework for the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which was then followed by the release of legislative text. The top line spending level for the package is estimated to be $1.75 trillion.  […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 25, 2021

Highlights:

During the week of October 18, House and Senate Democrats continued negotiations with the moderate and progressive factions of the Democratic caucus on the Build Back Better Act with a top spending level reportedly being negotiated to be in the roughly $2 trillion range.
On October 20, the Senate confirmed Catherine Lhamon as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) by a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a tie vote due to party line objections to the nomination.
On October 18, Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the remaining draft fiscal year (FY) 2022 Senate appropriations bills, including the draft FY2022 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bill and report.

Budget:
Senate Democrats release draft FY2022 appropriations bills, still no agreement with Republicans on how to move forward with annual funding process: Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the remaining draft fiscal year (FY) 2022 Senate appropriations bills, including the draft FY2022 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 18, 2021

Highlights:

On October 14, USED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the 2020 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) “Nation’s Report Card,” which reported declines in math and reading scores for 13-year-olds compared to 2012, marking the first time there had been a drop in approximately 50 years.
On October 13, the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) outlining principles that should guide the caucus’ legislative strategy as negotiations continue regarding the development of a final spending package.
On October 11, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) published a Dear Colleague letter in which she began to address how she plans to approach the multiple difficult decisions related to the budget reconciliation bill that “must be made very soon.”

Budget:
House progressives outline principles for ongoing budget reconciliation negotiations: The Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) outlining principles that should guide the caucus’ legislative strategy as negotiations continue regarding the development of a final spending package. In the letter, the Members note, “If given a choice between legislating narrowly or broadly, […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 12, 2021

Highlights:

On October 7, the Senate passed on a party line vote of 50-48 legislation to increase the debt limit cap by $480 billion. The House is expected to pass the legislation this week.
On October 6, the Senate confirmed by voice vote Gwen Graham as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs; Roberto Rodriguez as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development; and Elizabeth Brown as General Counsel.
On October 6, USED announced an overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, which will be implemented over the next year.

Budget:
Temporary deal on debt limit reached, Congress extends limit until early December: The Senate passed on a party line vote of 50-48 legislation to increase the debt limit cap by $480 billion. The House must now pass the measure and the short-term relief bill must be signed by President Biden. The temporary extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority will raise the debt limit until approximately December 3 – the same day that a Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend federal funding expires. Senate […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 4, 2021

Highlights:

On September 30, both the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend federal funding until December 3 and prevent a government shutdown that was set to occur after midnight.
On September 30, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full committee hearing titled, “School Reopening During COVID-19: Supporting Students, Educators, and Families,” in which U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Secretary of Education (USED) Secretary Miguel Cardona testified.
On September 28, the House passed the “Consider Teachers Act” (H.R.2048), a bipartisan bill that aims to address clerical errors related to the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program

Budget
Congress passes Continuing Resolution to stave off government shutdown, for now: Both the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend federal funding until December 3 and prevent a government shutdown that was set to occur after midnight. Prior to the next deadline, Congress must either work out a broader deal on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, including the […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 27, 2021

Highlights:

On September 25, the House Budget Committee met to markup the full budget reconciliation package, consisting of proposals from several House committees, to ready the measure for the House Rules Committee.
On September 23, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signaled that Democrats will do what is needed to avoid a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution (CR).
On September 23, during a stop on his Back to School Bus Tour, USED Secretary Miguel Cardona stated that he “wholeheartedly” supports mandatory vaccines for teenagers.

Budget & Appropriations: 
House Budget Committee advances budget reconciliation package, setting up potential action in the House on advancing Democrats’ $3.5 trillion proposal: The House Budget Committee will meet to markup the full budget reconciliation package, consisting of proposals from several House committees, to ready the measure for the House Rules Committee. No major changes to the bill are anticipated during the procedural move, during which the various committee submissions will be compiled, and the minority will have a chance to weigh in on nonbinding motions. However, the step remains necessary ahead of the bill’s introduction in the […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 20, 2021

Highlights:

On September 17, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague Letter outlining the House’s legislative schedule after it returns from recess.
On September 15, the Senate confirmed James Kvaal as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Under Secretary by a vote of 58-37.
During the week of September 13, the House Ways and Means Committee continued its markup of legislation that could eventually be included in a FY2022 budget reconciliation package.

Budget
House expected to consider funding stopgap this week, could see addition of debt limit fix: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague Letter outlining the House’s legislative schedule after it returns from recess. According to the Majority Leader, during the week of September 20, the House will take up a fiscal year (FY) 2021 continuing resolution (CR) that will include emergency supplemental funding for storm disaster relief and Afghan evacuee resettlement. The CR is intended to avert a government shutdown after the current year’s fiscal year expires on September 30. Majority Leader Hoyer also wrote that the House would seek to suspend the debt limit, […]

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