No Humdrum Budget Debate as House Amendments Target Abortion, Critical Race Theory, DACA, Wuhan

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Hearings & Markups of Interest

(Due to current limited access to the U.S. Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view these hearings via live stream.)

The U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Protecting Student Loan Borrowers and the Economy in Upcomig Transitions on Tuesday, June 27 at 10:15 a.m.

The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on Cyber Talent Pipeline: Educating a Workforce on Thursday, June 29 at 10 a.m.

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on Keeping the Pell Grant Promise: Increasing Enrollment, Supporting Success on Thursday, June 29 at 10:15 a.m.

Lawmakers Continue Debate on Education Funding. The House Rules Committee will meet Monday to debate a seven-bill appropriations package (H.R. 4502), and 186 amendments are on the table for the legislation’s Labor, Health and Human Services and Education spending. The committee will determine which of these amendments the full chamber will vote on later in the week. Lawmakers have been debating a number of controversial provisions in the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. Issues like abortion policy and the COVID-19 pandemic remain concerns for Republicans, most notably the omission of language, known as the Hyde amendment, to restrict federal funding of abortion under health programs such as Medicaid. Many Republican amendments target the Wuhan lab that some believe may have led to the pandemic. Some change COVID-19 policies and reduce topline spending. Republicans offered more than half a dozen amendments to the bill banning the teaching of critical race theory and the use of education funds to hire diversity or inclusion consultants. Three Republican amendments would reverse a provision in the bill that would allow participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to receive Pell Grants. Republican amendments would also remove a ban on federal funding for for-profit charter schools and reinstate a ban on funding for institutions conducting marijuana research. Several amendments would prohibit funding for colleges that have agreements with a Confucius Institute affiliate, a nonprofit with ties to China, or require the institution to make the agreement public. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) offered an amendment to prevent the Education Department from spending funds to enforce a Title IX rule created in the Trump administration.

Charter School Provision Draws Criticism. One provision in the $253.9 billion spending bill that includes the Education Department is being highlighted as jeopardizing the funding model of for-profit charter schools. The provision would prohibit any federal funds from going to a charter school “that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school,” as approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee. The inclusion of the measure drew opposition and has elevated a state-by-state fight over for-profit charter schools to the federal level. Opponents claim the provision would prevent all charter schools from entering any type of contract with a for-profit company. Supporters have responded that it would target only for-profit charter schools. The Hill reports.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session 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 July 26, 2021. For more information, please visit:


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