Paying Pentagon to Rob Pell?

DC Shuttle …

U.S. Senate Debates Education Appropriations with Focus on Pell Funds.

The Senate began debate on an $857 billion spending bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, as well as Education and other agencies. It is the first time education appropriations had been debated on the Senate floor since 2007 and the amendment process is expected to be tedious. The bill would allocate $179 billion for labor, health and education programs. The bill includes domestic and military appropriations. Tying the two together, it is thought, would put pressure on President Trump to sign the spending measure. The administration said it’s “concerned” the bill would fund 28 “unnecessary” education programs, totaling $6 billion, that Trump had cut in his budget request. The White House said that those programs “are duplicative, narrowly focused or unable to demonstrate effectiveness.” House leadership may also bring up a vote on the military and domestic spending together in order to pressure members. There’s a difference between how the two chambers would handle Pell funding, Roll Call reports. Both chambers and the White House would fund the program at $22.5 billion in fiscal 2019, the same as the current year. To fund Pell, the House version (H.R. 6470) would tap into Pell’s remaining $7.4 billion surplus. The Senate bill (S. 3158) would add another $100 increase in the maximum award and would access an additional $39 million in mandatory fiscal 2019 Pell funds. But the Senate would also rescind $600 million from Pell surplus balances to pay for other spending in the bill. Leadership will announce the lineup for amendments this week.

U.S. Dept of Ed Announces Plan to Rescind Gainful Employment. The Education Department announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes to rescind Gainful Employment (GE) regulations. The announcement opens a 30-day comment period on the proposed change. Following the comment period, the department then must review and respond to the comments, with the timeline after that unknown. The Education Department had signaled its intention to rescind the rule last month. The department said that in place of the GE regulations, it intends to expand disclosure of data on student debt and graduate earnings through the government College Scorecard website or a similar online venture. The announcement can be found in the Federal Register here, and readers can comment here on the proposed change. Comments are due by Sept. 13. The Washington Post reported on the announcement. Inside Higher Ed joined a chorus in reporting that the change will benefit for-profit institutions. Roll Call reported that the change will cost the government. The Daily World of Washington state reported that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has spoken out against the proposal.

Federal Commission on School Safety Holds final Meeting.

The Federal Commission on School Safety held its fifth, and final scheduled meeting at the White House. The meeting highlighted an Indiana school’s high-tech security features with a focus “on best practices for school building security, active shooter training for schools, and practitioner experience with school-based threat assessment.” The Department of Homeland Security, hosted the session. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and fellow commission members Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and HHS Secretary Alex Azar were all in attendance.

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 Aug. 20, 2018. For more information, please visit:


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