DC Shuttle …
House Approves Spending Package with Ed Dept Cuts. The House of Representatives approved an omnibus spending package (H.R. 3354), by a 211-198 vote, to fund the government, including the U.S. Department of Education funding bill (H.R. 3358). The bill, as approved, would cut about $2.3 billion from the Department of Education, a roughly 3.5% reduction from the agency’s current budget of $68.4 billion. The House bill funding the department for fiscal year 2018 would eliminate $2 billion in Title II funding for teacher training and class size reduction, and cut $100 million from current spending on after-school aid. The bill does not fund an expansion of school-choice programs, as called for by the administration. The Senate Appropriations Committee funding bill passed two weeks ago would increase spending for the Education Department by $29 million, up to $68.4 billion. The Trump administration’s budget proposal called for a cut of $9.2 billion to the department earlier this year.
Senators Introduce Perkins Loan Program Extension. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would extend for another two years the Perkins Loan program, which is set to expire on Sept. 30. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are co-sponsoring the legislation, which is identical to a bipartisan bill agreed to in 2015. Companion legislation has already been introduced in the House. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has called for Congress to end the program in order to simplify federal financial aid and the White House budget released in May proposed ending the program. Read statement from Collins.
HEA Update Expected this Fall. House Republicans, including leadership on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, are preparing to introduce legislation to update the Higher Education Act, according to reports. The bill is expected to consolidate the number of grant, loan and other student aid programs.
Ed Dept and CFPB Dispute Authority Over Information. House and Senate Democrats wrote a letter urging the Education Department to continue to share information on student loan data with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Education Department officials told CFPB Director Richard Cordray that they intend to terminate two memorandums of understanding establishing the information sharing. Senate Democrats Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-MA) led 39 Democrats in a letter, urging U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to reverse the decision to end operating agreements with the CFPB, saying “Cooperation between the Department and CFPB is in the best interest of students, borrowers, and taxpayers and the Department’s decision to abandon this partnership is contrary to its stated mission to ease the burden for borrowers.”
DeVos Tours Innovative Schools. DeVos spent last week doing a six-state back-to-school tour to highlight innovative programs. DeVos visited Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana.
Democrats Release Pre-K Report. Joint Economic Committee Democrats in a new report are calling for universally accessible, high-quality pre-K and programs that cover the entirety of parents’ working hours.
American Council on Education Sends Letter on DACA. The American Council on Education sent a letter on DACA and Dreamers to Congress encouraging legislative action to address the status of undocumented students.
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 Sept. 18, 2017. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.