Raising Minimum Wage, Investing in Public Schools Among Topics Unveiled by House Democrats

By The New England Council


DC Shuttle …

House Ed Committee Meets to Organize Work Agenda. The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor held an organizational markup to appoint Democratic and Republican members to Subcommittees for the 116th Congress. During the meeting, Committee Democrats announced the first four hearing topics planned for the 116th Congress: protecting workers with pre-existing conditions; gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $15; investing in America’s public schools; and preventing gender-based wage discrimination.

Ed Dept Nominations Sent to Senate. The Trump administration re-sent nominations to the Senate for Robert L. King to be assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the Department of Education, and Mark Schultz to be commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration at the Department of Education. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will vote on their nominations at a markup on Wednesday. The White House had nominated the two last year and the Senate HELP committee approved those nominations, although they were never considered by the full Senate and must now be nominated again.

Comment Period on Title IX Proposal Closes. The Washington Post reports on the results of Title IX comments, with 35 Senate Democrats submitting a comment to U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urging her to rescind her proposed Title IX rule and draft a new rule.

House and Senate Introduce Bills on School Infrastructure. U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a bill to fund $100 billion in school infrastructure improvements. The Rebuild America’s Schools Act (H.R.865) would fund $70 billion in grants and $30 billion in bonds to help address critical physical and digital infrastructure needs in schools across the country, according to the release. Scott also said that schools could “easily be a part” of any bigger infrastructure deal. You can read the bill text here, read the section-by-section here, and read the fact sheet here.

Ed Dept Announces Replacement of Ed Dept Inspector, Then Changes Decision. The Trump administration announced the replacement of the Education Department’s acting internal watchdog, acting inspector general Sandra with Bruce Phil Rosenfelt the deputy general counsel. The decision drew criticism from Democrats and, two days later, the administration announced it would not go through with the replacement, the Washington Post reports. Rosenfelt is a longtime career-department official who previously served as the acting education secretary for several weeks at the beginning of the Trump administration until DeVos was confirmed by the Senate.

Senator Alexander to Speak on Plans for HEA. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, planned to discuss his committee’s agenda for rewriting the Higher Education Act at the American Enterprise Institute. Watch here.

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 Feb. 4, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.


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