Wednesday, 1 of October of 2014

Category » Legislative Updates

Budget and Appropriations Update for Education Advocates

By Washington Partners, LLC

Advocates of all stripes enjoyed a wild ride in Washington last week.  Between groundbreaking Supreme Court decisions that were both heart rending and heart breaking: the passage of the first major overhaul of immigration policy in decades; the travails of notorious security secrets leaker Edward Snowden, trapped in no man’s land at Moscow International Airport; and the utter failure of the Congress to avoid the doubling of student loan interest rates set to occur on July 1st, there was something for everyone who pays attention to the Congress to either praise or…

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Weekly Legislative Update on Education

By Washington Partners, LLC

Congress returned to the Capitol last week with a long to-do list and really did try to get to work.  The Senate Judiciary Committee convened a mark-up of an immigration reform bill that is expected to continue throughout the month.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee tried repeatedly to vote on the nomination of Tom Perez as the new Secretary of Labor, but Republican objections put that action on hold.

On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) tried…

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Immigration Reform Update, An Adult & Family Literacy Perspective

By Jeff Carter, Guest Blogger and NCL Board Member, with Ellen Fern, Washington Partners LLC

After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” released a comprehensive immigration reform bill on April 16th. The bill would allow the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship while providing for additional security along the nation’s southern border.

If enacted, the ”Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” (S.744) would be the first major overhaul to the nation’s immigration laws since 1986. It would create a 13-year…

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Legislative Update

A Weekly Budget and Appropriations Update for Education Advocates

By Washington Partners LLC

After Secretary Duncan’s dual appearances on Capitol Hill last week to defend and explain the President’s budget plan for education, it was Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius’ turn to appear before the same appropriations panels.  While she received a warm, bipartisan welcome, the same could not be said for parts of her HHS budget.

One topic that did seem to please Members was the focus on early learning.  New funding for home visiting, partnerships between childcare and…

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President Proposes to Level Fund Adult Education in FY2014

By Ellen Fern, Washington Partners, and Jeff Carter, DC LEARNs and NCL Member of the Board

On April 10, President Obama sent his FY 2014 budget proposal to Capitol Hill.  It was two months late and followed the approval of separate FY 2014 budget resolutions in both the House and Senate.  Given its tardy arrival, it will be interesting to see how the Administration’s plan influences the appropriations process.  In theory, the President’s budget represents a middle ground between the House and Senate plans.  He has stated his hope that by offering cuts in entitlement programs,…

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Secretary Duncan Meets With Senate Appropriators, Defends the President’s FY2014 Budget Plan for DOE

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners LLC

Last Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made his second trip to Capitol Hill to defend the President’s FY 2014 budget plan for the Department of Education.  This time he appeared before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS).  Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) gave him a warm welcome, as did the new Ranking Member on the Subcommittee, Jerry Moran (R-KS).  Actually, there were kind words all around for a cabinet official the Members view as caring, energetic and…

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Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners, LLC

After adopting the Senate-passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget bill and a budget resolution for FY 2014, House Members raced out of the Capitol for a two-week recess. Their colleagues in the Senate remain in town, locked in a vote-a-rama to pass their first budget resolution in four years, but once that is completed, they too will run for the exits.

Reading the flurry of congratulatory press releases on the passage of the FY 2013 budget, you would think something significant had been accomplished. In reality, the budget is six…

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Can Bipartisanship Emerge in Wake of Sequestration Debacle?

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners LLC

If you are a person who always sees the glass as “half full,” the ripple effect of the sequester will put a smile on your face—at least for a moment. After the implementation of deep cuts to the federal budget that for months the public had been assured would never happen, the germs of bipartisanship between democrats and republicans began to appear on Capitol Hill last week.  Whether it was driven by embarrassment over not being able to avoid the blunt budget cuts or just…

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WIA Reauthorization to See Floor Action, Possibly Next Week

By Jackie Taylor, with Ellen Fern and Marcie Foster

Dems Stage Walkout of WIA Committee MarkupYesterday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee marked up and voted on the new Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The bill is nearly identical to HR 4297 originally introduced in the 112th Congress.  Democrats were very upset, stating that they were once again not included in the process of crafting the WIA bill that went to Committee markup.  The bill passed out of Committee 23-0, after the Democrats staged a walkout, and will be scheduled to go to the House floor for…

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Sequestration Triggered; Next Fiscal Crisis Looms

By Washington Partners, LLC

After months of anticipation, today is the day.  The sequester has been triggered.  Congress and the White House, in spite of reassuring the public for months that it was just “too awful” and they would never let it happen, failed to come up with an alternative.  Because of a policy known as forward funding, most education programs will not feel the impact of the sequester until the fall.  But not all programs.  Head Start and Impact Aid will feel the cuts immediately in the remaining months of this fiscal year.

Today, President…

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Sequestration Update for Adult Education

By Jackie Taylor and Ellen Fern

Unless there is a last minute agreement reached by the President and party leaders today, sequestration will occur at 11:59 pm tonight, Friday, 3/1.  We will know more about the impact on states in the coming days.

However, as previously stated by the U.S. Department of Education, adult education state formula grants will not be affected until July 1, 2013 because AEFLA is forward funded. Thus it would not affect any AEFLA funds that were already awarded in July 2012. (Source)

Thank you to advocates…

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Congress Leaves Town but Sequestration Remains

—A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners, LLC

The start of each Congressional recess brings a mad dash out of House and Senate office buildings toward surrounding airports. Members of Congress head home to their states and districts or board planes for trips around the globe.  This recess was no exception.  There were delegations heading to Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, Switzerland and Cuba, just to name a few—all “fact finding missions” designed to educate elected officials about their work as Senators and Representatives.

Given the unfinished work they left behind—resolving the…

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Clock Ticks as Fiscal Issues Remain Unresolved

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners

The 113th Congress has three critical fiscal issues to resolve over the next two months and not much time to get the job done.  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced last week that the government will “run out of money” to pay the interest on the enormous federal debt by the first of March, if not sooner.

If there remains a lack of consensus supporting an alternative, March 1st is also the date when the remaining 10 months of cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary…

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What’s On Tap for the 113th Congress?

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners LLC

The House and Senate were in recess last week but that did not reduce the level of activity in and around the Halls of Congress.  Outside the Capitol building and along Pennsylvania Avenue, platforms, viewing areas and grandstands are under construction for the January 21st Inauguration of President Barack Obama, marking the start of his second term.

Throughout the week, organizations were invited to the White House and federal agency offices to offer advice and comment to the Administration on how to address…

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New Cliffhanger Looms for March

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners LLC

Over the holidays, the buzz about the impending doom of a fiscal cliff waxed and waned, but ultimately, a cliff dive was averted with minutes to spare once two old hands at Senate negotiating joined the fray.  Vice President Joe Biden and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent 28 years together in the United States Senate, and the deal they hammered out had all the hallmarks of a Senate compromise.  The “baby” was essentially cut in half.

Part one resolved immediately the resources end of…

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Congress Still No Plan for the Fiscal Cliff

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners

During the third week of the Lame Duck session, Congress made little progress on avoiding going over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”  The GOP leadership in the House of Representatives did send a counter-offer to the President’s proposal that had been labeled a non-starter by Speaker of the House John Boehner (D-OH) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  Though it did not include an agreement to raise taxes, the proposal did include about $800 billion in “tax revenues.”

It also asked for steeper cuts in…

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Adult Education

By John Segota, Director of Advocacy and Professional Relations, TESOL International Association

On August 15, the Obama administration began its new initiative for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under this policy, undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who meet a strict set of criteria may apply for protection from deportation. If granted, the protection from deportation lasts for two years, after which time individuals may apply to renew their status.

One of the eligibility criteria requires applicants to have graduated from high school, obtained a…

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Will We Go Over the Fiscal Cliff?

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners LLC

Talk about “the fiscal cliff” has gotten so intense in Washington that it feels like Capitol Hill is perched on a precipice, about to fall into a deep, black hole.  In spite of that harrowing posture, after two weeks in town for its lame duck session, Members of Congress and the White House seem to be moving further apart on resolution of the grand fiscal crisis versus closer together.…

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Key Issues for Lame Duck Session

A Budget and Appropriations Update

By Washington Partners LLC

On November 13th the 112th Congress will return to Washington for a lame duck session.  The session earns this name because among those returning are over 100 Members who will not serve in the 113th Congress because they are retiring or were defeated on November 6th.   The agenda for this lame duck session is long and challenging.  The key issues they will face are resolution of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget—now operating under a continuing resolution–and what to do about the so-called “fiscal cliff”—automatic…

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What’s at Stake for Education on Election Day?

By Ellin Nolan, Washington Partners LLC

Education has not been front and center with the public during this election season as it was four years ago when anxiety about the No Child left Behind Act (NCLB) hit a fever pitch.  Few candidates running for the Congress at that time left a position against NCLB out of their platform.  This year, NCLB is rarely mentioned in state and district contests, but education has been discussed repeatedly by President Obama and Governor Romney in debates, on their websites and at live events.

How do…

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CR Deal Struck; Scenarios Going Forward

By Washington Partners

On its face, the deal struck by Leadership in the House and Senate last week related to federal spending for the next fiscal year seems to be evidence of a willingness to work together. Look a little deeper, however, and it is clear that politics played a large role in the negotiations that yielded an agreement to vote on a spending measure in September. The move will take the pressure off of the current Congress to make hard spending decisions.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker…

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Sequestration Updates for Adult Education

On January 2, 2013, the vast majority of nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs will face deep, across-the-board cuts. This will impact core government functions including education programs.

NCL asked the Office of Vocational and Adult Education what this could mean for programs funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. According to Cheryl Keenan, Director of Adult Education and Literacy:

“In the event that the Department is required to sequester funds in January 2013, any sequestration of AEFLA funds under that action would affect the July 1, 2013 allocations to States, and would not

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Adult Education Budget and Appropriations Updates

By Jackie Taylor with Ellen Fern

On July 18, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up and approved its FY2013 funding bill by a vote of 8-6.  Adult education was level funded, including $74,709,000 for EL / Civics to be set aside from the amount provided for Adult Education State Grants.   $11,302,000 was also included for national leadership activities. The report language that accompanies the bill, which includes additional details, will be released prior to full committee markup. The date for the full Appropriations Committee markup hasn’t been announced…

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Holding Fire on Budget Fights Prior to November Elections

—A Weekly Education Update

By Washington Partners

The Congress inched closer to developing a Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget for the Department of Education last week with the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting to mark up Chairman Denny Rehberg’s (R-MT) bill.  It was a contentious event and education was not on center stage.  Chairman Rehberg chose to eliminate all funding for programs authorized by the Affordable Care Act, in light of House action to repeal the statute last week. In fact, he eliminated funding for all but a…

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House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee to Markup Bill; Continuing Resolution Likely

By Washington Partners

Though it is mid-July, February’s “Groundhog Day” was referenced repeatedly on Capitol Hill this week.  The reason—for the 33rd time, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the same result.  It passed with resounding Republican support and, if it gets to the Senate, will be just as strongly rejected by the Democratic majority once again there.

In and of itself this was not a significant event.  It did, however, raise the possibility that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health…

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Heat Wave Turns Temperatures Up on the Hill

A Weekly Education Update

By Washington Partners

The record heat suffocating much of the east coast last week affected the House and Senate sides of Capitol Hill quite differently. The rhetoric in the House of Representatives got even hotter—reaching a fever pitch over the Justice Department’s refusal to release certain documents.  The House will take a vote next week on whether or not to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, a move that has caused President Obama to invoke “executive privilege” on the documents in question and escalate the disagreement.  This…

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Senate Markup of LaborHHS-ED; Outlook for Education

—A Weekly Education Update

By Washington Partners

With the House at home for a district work period last week, the Senate had Capitol Hill all to itself once again.  They used the time to get to work on the FY2013 budget for the nation.  On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LaborHHS-ED) held a markup where a bill that includes $68.5 billion, a $400 million increase over FY2012, for the Department of Education was adopted on a strictly party-line vote.

This is the second year…

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You Did It! Senate LaborHHS-ED Full Committee Level Funds Adult Ed

—By Jackie Taylor and Ellen Fern

On Thursday, June 14, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS-ED) approved its FY 2013 appropriations bill on a party-line vote of 16-14 (See summary). This bill provides federal funding for adult education. Republicans opposed the bill largely over objections to funding for the Affordable Care Act. (Listen to the audio archives here.)

Earlier this week, the bill passed out of subcommittee by a vote of 10 to 7.

Adult education…

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House Education and the Workforce Committee Marks Up WIA Bill; Adult Ed Advocates Not Deterred

Thank You Adult Literacy Advocates!

—By Washington Partners with Jackie Taylor

On Thursday, June 7, the House Education and the Workforce Committee met to mark up and amend the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012, H.R. 4297.  Overall, this bill consolidates 25 workforce training programs that have been identified as duplicative and ineffective into a single Workforce Investment Fund that provides flexibility for states to determine the best use of funds.

On the flip side, Democrats John Tierney (D-MA), George Miller (D-CA), and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) proposed H.R. 4227, an alternative version…

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Advocacy Needed on WIA Reauthorization & Appropriations

—A Weekly Education and Advocacy Update

By Washington Partners With Jackie Taylor

Grassroots Advocacy Actions Needed This Week:

Call Congress Today!WIA Reauthorization: Adult education advocates who are constituents of House Education and the Workforce Committee Members should act immediately to preserve funding for adult education in WIA reauthorization. The National Coalition for Literacy learned last Friday that markup is to be scheduled for this Thursday, June 7. If your House Member is on this Committee, please call your U.S. Representative’s D.C. office with this message: “Do not consolidate adult education funding (Title II) in WIA reauthorization.

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