Among Capitol Hill To-Do Items: Invest in Retraining, Protect Veterans in Higher Ed, Pilot Pells for Dual Enrollment

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

House Passes Education Funding Bill. The House passed legislation containing an almost $1 trillion minibus spending package (H.R. 2740) that includes funding for the U.S. Education Department. The bill would provide a 6% funding boost in education spending for the coming fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The package now goes to the Senate, where work has not yet begun on next year’s appropriations. The $985 billion measure includes spending for the Defense Department and a package for the departments of Labor, HHS, and Education. It also contains the bills funding state and foreign operations and energy and water efforts. The White House has said President Donald Trump would veto the package if it reaches his desk. White House officials have been meeting with congressional leaders and senior appropriators to agree on compromise spending levels. The House is also working on another funding bill, which got some education-related amendments last week. Amendments passed by the House to legislation (H.R. 3055) that funds the Justice Department included a $1 million increase for research to study the root causes of school violence and a $2 million boost for a program that helps provide student loan repayment assistance to public defenders and prosecutors. EdWeek reported.

Senator Introduces Bill to Fund Education and Retraining Expenses. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced legislation designed to cover the costs of training, education and supportive services for workers to get new skills to address the changing economy. As part of those services the funds could be used on child care, transportation and books. “This legislation makes a serious investment in our workers by removing barriers to securing the good-paying jobs of today and the future,” she said in a statement. The 21st Century Skills are Key to Individuals’ Lifelong Success (SKILLS) Act would establish accounts for American workers to access skills training and other educational opportunities, as well as pay associated costs, Vox reports.

90/10 Rule Bill Introduced. U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) introduced the Defending All Veterans in Education (DAVIE) Act, legislation aimed at ensuring GI Bill recipients don’t fall prey to predatory recruitment tactics. The DAVIE Act targets the exemption of GI and Veterans’ benefits from the 90/10 rule, which says for-profit colleges can’t receive more than 90% of their revenue from federal student aid. The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Gil Cisneros (D-CA). Shalala followed the introduction with an op-ed piece in the Military Times arguing for legislation to address the issue. Florida Daily reported.

Hearing on Veterans Who Attend Schools that Close. The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing on protecting student veterans who are attending a postsecondary institution that closes mid-semester. Nearly 7,000 Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients have been caught up in the collapse of universities, the GAO has recently reported. VA and GAO officials and veterans testified at the hearing. Robin Minor, a deputy chief operating officer at the Federal Student Aid office, drew attention to institutions that had been placed into receiverships in federal district court. While the law makes clear that if an institution declares bankruptcy, it may not participate in federal student aid programs, it does not address receiverships.

House Committee Passes Bill on Sexual Harassment in Research. The House Science Committee voted to approve legislation (H.R. 36) sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), designed to address sexual harassment in research. The bill would direct science agencies to require their grantee institutions to report incidents of sexual harassment. It would also require the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to conduct a follow-up study on the issue and include a section on sexual harassment in its guide on responsible conduct in research.

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Promote Dual Enrollment with Pell Grants. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would create a pilot program allowing low-income students to earn college credit while still in high school using Pell Grant funds. The effort would build upon the Education Department’s experimental site for dual-enrollment programs. The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA); Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced similar legislation in the House.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of June 24, 2019. For more information, please visit:


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