E-Update for the Week of April 6, 2020

Highlights:

On April 2, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the creation of a Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which will be chaired by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC).
On April 1, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary DeVos published proposed rules in the Federal Register that would govern distance learning for higher education students. The Department previously published a similar notice of proposed rulemaking in 2019; however, the Department notes that the coronavirus emergency “underscores the need for reform for all educational institutions to have a robust capacity to teach remotely.”
On March 31, POLITICO reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of the proposed final rule on Title IX and has sent the rule back to USED. The Department is now authorized to publish the rule at any point but has not indicated when it plans to do so.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 1:00 pm on April 3, 2020. Given the fast-moving nature […]

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E-Update for the Week of March 23, 2020

Highlights:

On March 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released updated text to the “Coronavirus Aid, Relieve, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.” The Majority Leader released initial text on March 19 but updated after initial negotiations with Senate Democrats over the weekend. However, Senate Democrats did not endorse the updated bill.
On March 18, Senate passed H.R.6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” on a 90-8 bipartisan vote. The bill was then signed into law by President Donald Trump. The bill is considered “phase two” of Congress’s expected actions to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 16, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that the House will not be returning to session on March 23, as was previously scheduled. Instead, the Majority Leader announced that if votes are scheduled, Members will have 24 hours’ notice to return to D.C.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 7:00 pm on March 22, 2020. Given the fast-moving nature of congressional and Administrative actions to […]

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E-Update for the Week of March 16, 2020

Highlights:

On March 14, the House adopted an amended version of H.R.6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” with a 363-40 bipartisan vote. The provides some employees with paid sick leave if needing to quarantine or receive treatment from illness due to the coronavirus. The bill also includes provisions to support students and families facing the impacts of school closures. The Senate is expected to consider the bill when they return to session on March 16.
On March 13, during a press conference to provide updates on the Administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announced he is instituting an indefinite halt on the collection of federal student loan interest.
On March 11, the Senate approved H.J.Res.76, which provides for “congressional disapproval… of the rule submitted by [USED] relating to borrower defense.” The Senate approved the measure on a semi-bipartisan vote of 53-42.

 
Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 5:00 pm on March 15, 2020. Given the fast-moving nature of congressional and Administrative actions […]

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E-Update for the Week of March 9, 2020

Highlights:

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published a collection of resources and guidance for schools and districts regarding the growing coronavirus outbreak. The webpage, located on the Department’s website, includes guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and information for districts, schools, and institutions of higher education as to how they should support students in the case of a closing due to the outbreak.
On March 5, the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Review of the FY2021 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Education.” During the hearing, Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) suggested the Appropriations Committee would not entertain the Department’s Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantage (ESED) block grant proposal and would instead, “write the appropriations bill under current law.”
On March 3, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) held a press event to announce the inclusion of H.R.865, the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act,” in the House Democrat’s “Moving Forward” infrastructure framework. […]

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E-Update for the Week of March 2, 2020

Highlights:

On February 27, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Department of Education Budget Request for FY 2021.” During the hearing, both Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) raised concerns with the proposed consolidation of 29 programs to create an Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged (ESED) block grant.
On February 26, the House Appropriations Labor/HHS Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Department of Health and Human Services Budget Request for FY 2021.” The hearing featured testimony from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. Subcommittee members were largely focused on the Department’s strategy for addressing the developing coronavirus outbreak.
On February 26, USED Secretary DeVos announced a new Title IX enforcement initiative to be led by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The initiative is focused on enforcement of Title IX within K-12 public schools, particularly related to issues of sexual harassment and assault of students by adults within schools.

Congress:
Senate:
Warren, Booker, Harris urge OCR to investigate racial bias in student […]

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E-Update for the Week of February 24, 2020

Highlights:

This week, on February 26 at 9:30 am, the House Appropriations Labor/HHS Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Department of Health and Human Services Budget Request for FY 2021.” HHS Secretary Azar will testify.
Also, this week, on February 27 at 10:00 am, the House Appropriations Labor/HHS Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Department of Education Budget Request for FY 2021.” USED Secretary Betsy DeVos will testify.
On February 20, POLITICO reported that the USED Inspector General raised concerns with the Department’s calculation mechanism for potential student debt relief under the borrower defense regulation. The Inspector General raised concerns with the Department’s legal authority to use earnings data from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Budget and Appropriations:
Potential markups on FY21 House Labor/HHS spending bill: CQ reported tentative dates for the House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee markups of all fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. According to CQ, it is expected the House Appropriations Labor/HHS Subcommittee will hold a markup of the FY2021 Labor/HHS appropriations bill on April 29. It is expected the full Committee will then hold a markup of […]

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E-Update for the Week of February 18, 2020

Highlights:

On February 12, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a report titled, “Income-Driven Repayment Plans for Student Loans: Budgetary Costs and Policy Options.” The report summarizes an analysis of repayment plans that are based on a student borrower’s income and allow for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years.
On February 10, President Donald Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request. The approximately $4.8 trillion proposal included funding requests for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (USED). The proposal requests $66.6 billion for USED, which is an 8.5 percent reduction from FY2020 spending levels.
On February 10, USED launched SchoolSafety.gov which is a “one-stop-shop” of resources for school district leaders and educators to prepare and address various threats related to safety, security, and support in schools.

Budget and Appropriations:
President releases FY21 budget request, outlines key priorities and significant cuts to education programs: President Donald Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request. The approximately $4.8 trillion proposal included funding requests for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (USED). […]

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E-Update for the Week of February 10, 2020

Highlights:

Today, it is expected the White House will release the President’s Budget Request for fiscal year (FY) 2021. Relatedly, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will hold a briefing at 2:00 pm to detail the Department’s FY2021 budget request. The briefing will be held at the Department at 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202 in Barnard Auditorium.
On February 6, CQ reported that federal funding for school construction is likely to be added to a House Democratic infrastructure package, which was previously announced. Speaking to reporters, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, “We tell children that education is important, they should study, it’s important to their own self-fulfillment and to that of our country, and yet we send some of them to schools that are so substandard that it sends a different message.”
On February 3, USED and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) detailing how the agencies will share student loan complaint information and meet regularly to review complaints received.

Budget and Appropriations:
White House to release FY21 […]

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E-Update for the Week of February 3, 2020

Highlights:

On January 31, USA Today reported that President Donald Trump will include a call to action for Congress to adopt the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Education Freedom Scholarship proposal within his State of the Union address.
On January 31, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the approval of four states to participate in the Education Flexibility Program (Ed-FLEX). The program, updated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), allows for states to support innovation and waives certain statutory or regulatory requirements. The four states approved for the program are Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Vermont.
On January 28, the House Education and Labor Committee held a joint subcommittee hearing between the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. The hearing titled, “Expecting More: Addressing America’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis,” focused on efforts to improve maternal and infant health outcomes.

Congress:
House:
House Democrats roll out infrastructure framework, schools could be included says Chairman Scott: The House Transportation Committee released a framework for a five-year, $760 billion infrastructure investment. The framework includes funding proposals for projects […]

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