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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E-Update for the Week of September 13, 2021

Highlights:

On September 9 and 10, the House Education and Labor Committee conducted a markup of legislation that could be included in congressional Democrats’ budget reconciliation legislation. The legislation includes proposals to expand access to child care, provide universal preschool, reduce the tuition of community college, and increase the maximum Pell Grant award.
On September 9, the White House released an updated response plan for the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “Path Out of the Pandemic: President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan.”
On September 8, Axios reported that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has privately expressed his willingness to support a budget reconciliation package that totals an amount closer to $1.5 trillion, as opposed to the current $3.5 trillion proposal.

Budget
House Committees advance budget reconciliation legislation to expand access to child care, preschool, and higher education: During the week of September 6, several House Committees held markups of their respective pieces of legislation that could be eventually included in a fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget reconciliation process.  The Committee proposals are somewhat aligned to President Biden’s proposed American Families Plan but have some key differences, including the addition […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 7, 2021

Highlights:

On September 9 at 12:00 pm, it is expected the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a markup on draft legislation that could be included in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.
On September 2, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging Democrats to “hit a strategic pause” in their effort to pass the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.
On August 30, USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it had opened investigations in five states exploring whether statewide prohibitions on universal indoor masking “discriminate against students with disabilities.”

Budget: 
House Ed & Labor Committee expected to begin consideration of reconciliation language this Thursday: It is expected the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a markup on draft legislation that could be included in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, according to POLITICO (though the markup has yet to be officially announced). According to reports, the draft legislation is expected to include provisions that would expand access to child care, provide universal preschool to all three- and four-year-olds, increase the maximum Pell Grant […]

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E-Update for the Week of August 23, 2021

Please note that the next edition of the E-Update will be published on September 6, 2021.
Highlights:

On August 23, the House will return early from recess to vote on a $3.5 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget resolution, which includes instructions for budget reconciliation.
On August 18, the White House published a memorandum to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Miguel Cardona on “Ensuring a Safe Return to In-Person School for the Nation’s Children.”
On August 16, USED, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), announced an initiative intended to support unemployment insurance (UI) beneficiaries who pursue postsecondary education, particularly those who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Budget
House to return this week for budget reconciliation vote, possible standoff between Democratic leadership and moderate Democrats: The House will return early from recess to vote on a $3.5 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget resolution, which includes instructions for budget reconciliation. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) intends to have Members vote on a rule on Monday night that would include procedural motions for the FY2022 budget resolution and […]

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Five Things to Know about the ARP

The following was created in partnership with the Wallace Foundation and originally appeared on its blog on August 4, 2021.
Earlier this year, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, the federal government’s third major COVID-19 relief bill. The law provides nearly $2 trillion to support the nation’s efforts to reopen and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Included is more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education.
These are historic levels of K-12 funding, far surpassing the amounts in previous pandemic relief bills, and they go well beyond annual federal K-12 education investments. Moreover, the relief package could have an impact well into the future, as districts and states are allowed to spend their allotments through September 2024—enabling them to identify and develop solutions that meet immediate needs and seed long-term, evidence-based shifts to better promote equity and improved outcomes.

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E-Update for the Week of August 16, 2021

Highlights:

On August 11, Senate Democrats approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution by a vote of 50-49, teeing up efforts in the coming weeks and months for congressional Democrats to develop and pass a legislative package that could fulfill most President Biden’s proposals within the American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan.
On August 11, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) filed a procedural motion to advance James Kvaal’s nomination to be Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The action by the Majority Leader sets up a procedural vote in the Senate when the chamber returns from recess in mid-September.
On August 10, the Senate passed H.R.3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” by a 69-30 vote – this bill has been referred to as the “bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel: 
Schumer sets up final vote on Kvaal’s nomination for USED undersecretary: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) filed a procedural motion to advance James Kvaal’s nomination to be Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The action by the Majority Leader sets up a […]

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E-Update for the Week of August 9, 2021

Highlights:

On August 6, USED announced it will extend the current freeze on student loan repayment and interest accrual through January 31, 2022.
On August 6, USED announced it will publish a notice in the Federal Register establishing a negotiated rulemaking committee to rewrite regulations for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, income-contingent repayment plans, and borrower defense to repayment, among other issues.
On August 3, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee split evenly along party lines on a vote to advance the nomination of Catherine Lhamon to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel: 
Lhamon nomination fails to attract bipartisan support in HELP Committee vote, path forward will require procedural move from Majority Leader Schumer: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee split evenly along party lines on a vote to advance the nomination of Catherine Lhamon to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.  The 11-11 vote means that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) must move through a procedural hurdle to discharge […]

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E-Update for the Week of August 2, 2021

Highlights:

On July 29, the House approved the chamber’s version of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) appropriations bill.
On July 29, the House Education and Labor Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Keeping the Pell Grant Promise: Increasing Enrollment, Supporting Success.”
On July 26, USED released a request for information (RFI) seeking comments on possible changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF).

Budget & Appropriations:
House adopts FY2022 Labor/HHS appropriations bill, still awaiting action in the Senate: The House approved the chamber’s version of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) appropriations bill. The appropriations bill was included within H.R.4502, which is a minibus (or bill containing multiple appropriations bills) package, and was adopted by a largely party line vote of 219-208. Now that the House has adopted the bill, the Senate could consider the package, but that is highly unlikely. Instead, the Senate will likely draft its own version of the FY2022 Labor/HHS appropriations bill, but it is unclear when the Senate […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 26, 2021

Highlights:

On July 23, the White House released a fact sheet on the Biden Administration’s efforts to “advance educational equity.”
On July 22, USED published the approved plans for five additional states and their proposed use of ARP Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funding.
On July 21, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee vote to advance the nominations of Lisa Brown, who is nominated to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) General Counsel, and Roberto Rodriguez, who is nominated to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
HELP Committee advances Brown, Rodriguez nominations for top USED appointments, delay vote on Lhamon’s OCR nomination: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee vote to advance the nominations of Lisa Brown, who is nominated to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) General Counsel, and Roberto Rodriguez, who is nominated to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.  The Committee advanced both nominations on voice votes […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 19, 2021

Highlights:

On July 15, the House Appropriations Committee held a full Committee markup of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) appropriations bill, which includes funding for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (USED).
On July 13, Senate Budget Committee Democrats and the White House officially agreed to a $3.5 trillion topline number for a budget reconciliation package.
On July 13, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “The Nominations of Catherine Lhamon to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Elizbeth “Lisa” Brown to Serve as General Counsel, and Roberto Rodriguez to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.” The Committee will vote on the nominations this Wednesday.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
HELP begins consideration of next three USED nominations, expected vote on Wednesday: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “The Nominations of Catherine Lhamon to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Elizbeth “Lisa” Brown to Serve as […]

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