National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

President Visits Career Academy in Nashville, Talks CTE, Opportunity Agenda

February 4th, 2014

DSC_5768Following the State of the Union Address, President Obama spent two days last week touring the country to promote his “Opportunity Agenda,” a program designed to prepare the American workforce for the evolving needs of our economy.  On Thursday, McGavock High School, the largest of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, played host to the President.

“It was an incredible event that validated the work of so many people here in the city of Nashville,” said Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele.

Seizing on the President’s assertion that Career Technical Education (CTE) “makes words on a page exciting, real, and tangible” for students, Steele emphasized that the district’s academies are designed to enhance and augment, not supplant, general education. “While CTE is the anchor of the program, core gen ed. courses come alive and become more relevant.”

Dr. Danielle Mezera, Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education CTE, described MNPS as an “excellent example” of CTE blending with core academic classes to enrich students’ experience.

“Since we came in a couple of years ago, we have really wanted to supply truth in advertising [for state CTE programs,]” Mezera said. “One of our main goals has been to provide the support and flexibility to allow districts to focus on aligning secondary and postsecondary studies with their practical application and with career opportunities. Programs like teacher externships and business partnerships have been key. [MNPS] has done an excellent job taking advantage of them.”

Even before the Obama Administration announced the visit, MNPS was on the President’s radar. Early in January, the President cited MNPS for overhauling its structure and boosting graduation rates 22 percent.

Yet, MNPS’s place as an exemplar didn’t happen overnight. Rather it took years of sustained effort.

Several years ago, MNPS audited its CTE programs and discovered that they were not as effective as they could be.  MNPS teamed up with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce to comb through workforce data to identify the area’s most in-demand jobs in Nashville. Then, working with the Ford Next Generation Learning Project, Alignment Nashville, the PENCIL Foundation, and local stakeholders, MNPS decided to shift to the career academy model.

The new format promised students the chance to select particular academies of interest (the CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communication or the US Community Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance at McGavock, for instance) in 10th grade. Pairing core academic classes with CTE, students combine what they learn in science, math and language arts with courses teaching career-specific skills.

Speaking about the process, Executive Director of Ford Next Generation Learning Cheryl Carrier said, “You have to have all of the key stakeholders at the table. School districts, business partners, and government have to be at the table together and work towards a common aligned vision. MNPS and the Nashville community were able to create a five-year plan that looked at all aspects of the academy’s development, and it took off.”

That development led to an innovative CTE program that incorporates all 16 Career Clusters. Seven years into the project, MNPS now also serves as a model for the Ford PAS program, with hundreds of visitors coming each year to observe the academies and devise ways to implement similar models in their districts.

“As the President said, it’s a simple but powerful idea,” Steele said. “It doesn’t require that you change as much as some might think, but it requires you to change the way you think about education.”

In his remarks during the visit, the President emphasized changing the conversation surrounding education with a similar shift in perspective. “Young people are going to do better when they’re excited about learning, and they’re going to be more excited if they see a connection between what they’re doing in the classroom and how it is applied…Schools like this one teach you everything you need to know in college, but, because of that hands-on experience, schools like this one are able to create pathways so that folks, if they choose not to go to a four-year institution, can get a job sooner.”

The President’s citation of MNPS and Tennessee’s successful pathways was particularly gratifying for Patrice Watson, Program Manager for Tennessee’s Office of Postsecondary Coordination and Alignment. “Being there and having [the President] talk about giving students different pathways, getting the community involved in the schools, and making [reform] a community effort made it clear that he understands what we’re trying to do here in Tennessee,” she said.

CTE Student Success Career Clusters Consultant Bethany Wilkes agreed that the President’s remarks are an encouraging sign for CTE. “It was incredibly gratifying,” she said. “[The President] focused on how we can develop critical thinking skills and engage the students—that’s what we do every day.”

The President’s visit to McGavock High came on the same day that the Administration released a fact sheet going more in-depth on its Opportunity for All Agenda. That document, available here, endorses improving alignment between apprenticeships, training programs, and schools, as well as consultation with industry leaders, educators and policymakers to create job-driven training and education. In endorsing McGavock’s CTE-based programs, the President opened the door to making CTE a key component of those efforts.

- Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Spending Bills Continue to Take Shape, OVAE Continues PIAAC Engagement Process

January 10th, 2014

CapitolAs we shared in our last update, Congressional budget negotiators successfully came to a two year agreement on federal spending levels in late December. The agreement, known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA), sets overall discretionary spending levels at $1.012 trillion and reduces sequester cuts by approximately one-third— $63 billion in sequester relief split evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending over the next two years. Education programs— such as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) — fall under the NDD section of the budget and are set to receive an additional $24 billion in funding for fiscal year 2014.

However, this agreement was only the first step in the larger federal budget and appropriations process. Congressional appropriators must now craft the 12 individual appropriations bills— one for each of the appropriations subcommittees in both the House and Senate—  to fund the various departments, agencies, and programs which account for the entire discretionary side of the federal budget. These 12 spending bills will then be put into a larger omnibus bill, which will then need to be passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. It is important to note that the most current Continuing Resolution (CR), which at present is funding the federal government, expires on January 15th. With this deadline fast approaching, House Republican leaders have announced a short-term three day extension of this CR to provide adequate time for passage of the larger omnibus spending bill next week.

Of these twelve spending bills, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, from which the Perkins Act draws its funding, is still being negotiated. Appropriators are still deciding how to best to distribute their portion of the $24 billion in discretionary sequester relief among the many programs under their jurisdiction and a final agreement is expected soon. NASDCTEc and ACTE recently sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the appropriations subcommittees, urging them to restore funding for the Perkins Act to pre-sequestration levels. As this process continues, please check back here for updates and analysis on how the Perkins Act and the CTE community will be impacted by this process.

OVAE Continues PIAAC Engagement Process

Last November, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released results from its Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) which found that one in six American adults lack basic skills in literacy and numeracy. In a report titled “Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says,” the OECD found that the U.S. lags behind the international average for basic skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving.

To combat these troubling findings, the Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) launched an engagement process to better understand these challenges and to help develop a national strategy to reverse these trends. On Wednesday Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, hosted the third of a planned total of five regional engagement sessions, the latest taking place in Redwood City, California. Dann-Messier and her office hope to gather feedback from communities across the country to develop a response to the OECD report and have planned two additional visits to Cleveland, MS and Boston, MA in the coming months.

Additional information regarding OVAE’s engagement process can be found here.

State CTE Policy Update

January 9th, 2014

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Last month, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a bill into law mandating three years of both mathematics and science for graduation (up from two years of each).  The bill also allows for more flexibility in how mathematics and science requirements can be met; a computer science course, for example, can count as a mathematics credit and certain CTE courses may apply towards either content area as well. Wisconsin already has a process in place for awarding academic credit for technical courses (the CTE equivalency credit), which is now being expanded.

Also in December, Washington DC became the ninth “state” to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), joining Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

A state legislator in Indiana recently announced new work on a bill that would offer a new diploma focused on CTE. While details are limited at this time, the bill would create a process for CTE-focused courses and curricula to be developed that would allow students to meet the 20 credits currently required by the state’s default graduation requirement – the Core 40 – more flexibly.

The Computing Education Blog analyzed the 2013 data on the AP Computer Science exam and found that in three states – Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming – no female students took that AP exam, and the state with the highest percentage of female test-takers (Tennessee), females still only represented 29% of all test takers. Additionally no Black students took the exam in 11 states – Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Given the high demand in the IT field – from computer support specialists and programmers to designers and engineers – these trends are particularly troubling, although a nunber of states, such as Wisconsin (as described above) and Washington, are trying to upend this trend by allowing AP Computer Science courses to count towards core math and science requirements.

And, finally, in news that will impact a number of states, ACT has announced they will be phasing out the Explore and PLAN tests, their 8th and 10th grade tests, which are aligned with the 11th grade ACT. This decision marks a shift for ACT away from their current assessment system to Aspire, their new line of 3-8 assessments, which will be aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Alabama has already begun using the Aspire system this school year, the first and only state to fully commit to the assessment system at this time.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

CTE Research Review

December 19th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013

Welcome to the final CTE Research Review of 2013! Below are some new and notable reports on issues impacting Career Technical Education.

The Education Commission of States (ECS) launched a 50-state database of dual/concurrent enrollment policies, including state reports, comparable data and links to specific legislation and regulations. The database includes information on access, finance, quality assurance and transferability. With about a third of all dual/concurrent credits earned by high school students in CTE disciplines, this is a key issue for CTE leaders and students.

The Afterschool Alliance released a new brief, Computing and Engineering in Afterschool, which explores why and how afterschool programs can help equip students with the skills they need to pursue engineering and computer science education and careers – and help fill gaps in traditional K-12 education. For more on STEM and the Afterschool Alliance, check out their STEM Impact Awards.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released two briefs in the last two months focusing on reforms in the higher education space: Meeting Students Where They Are: Profiles of Students in Competency-Based Degree Programs” and “A Path Forward: Game-Changing Reforms in Higher Education and the Implications for Business and Financing Models.” The first report explores various competency-based education models at the postsecondary level. In addition to laying out these models – from direct assessment to hybrid degrees – the brief also captures students’ perspectives and experiences earning degrees at their own pace and leveraging knowledge already gained in school and the workplace. It’s a compelling read and was discussed at a recent CAP event, which can be watched here.

The latter report focuses on some identified “game changers” for postsecondary education, notably stackable credentials, competency-based education and the Guided Pathways to Success model, laying out the benefits and the barriers that need to be removed to ensure more Americans have access to high-quality postsecondary learning, aligned with the demands of industry.

Finally, this week the National Center for Education Statistics released the annual Trial Urban District Assessment results, which was designed to explore how feasible it is to use the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at the district level. For the 2013 administration, 21 districts participated. While a number of districts posted gains over previous years’ assessments, the results are by and large still very low across these urban districts, particularly for minority students. For a good (and honest) analysis of these results, check out Education Next.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Building Academic Momentum: Webinar Explores Benefits of Accelerated Learning

November 25th, 2013

Chalkboard with words "back to school"Today the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) and College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center) co-hosted a webinar Understanding Accelerated Learning Across Secondary and Postsecondary Education which expanded on a recent report on the same subject. The event described and critically assessed how accelerated learning is defined on the secondary and postsecondary level, the ways in which these strategies have been implemented on and across these learner levels, and gave a number of representatives from various backgrounds an opportunity to present additional information on specific programs highlighted throughout the webinar.

Speakers included:

  • Joseph Harris, Director of the College and Career Readiness & Success Center
  • Jennifer Brown Lerner, Senior Director of American Youth Policy Forum
  • Melinda Mechur Karp, Senior Research Associate at the Community College Research Center
  • Louisa Erickson, Program Administrator at Washington State Board for Technical and Community Colleges
  • Thomas Acampora, Field Manager for the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University

The presentation began with an overarching definition for “accelerated learning” which, for the purposes of the webinar, means a change to the traditional academic timeframe for learning allowing students to progress more quickly through curriculum. This type of approach helps tailor the pace of learning for individual students and allows for all students— not just “high achievers”— to participate in this type of innovative instruction. Ultimately the goal of accelerated learning is to harness the quickened pace of education to build “momentum” for a student so that they have the necessary knowledge and confidence to persist at the postsecondary level.

Throughout the webinar many successful applications of this approach were examined in great detail. Acampora in particular stressed how accelerated learning can be used as a strategy for high school transformation by individually tailoring coursework to students through stand-alone courses. He emphasized his core belief that all students can reach these high levels of achievement given the necessary resources and stressed how these high expectations eventually lead to better student outcomes by “instilling a culture of success.” Mechur spoke at length about the unique opportunities dual enrollment gives to students and showed how earning postsecondary credit on the secondary level can support transitions between the two and incentivize completion.

Erickson’s presentation primarily focused on Washington state’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST) which seeks to contextualize basic education through a team-taught series of courses. The approach helps to expedite the learning of basic skills in reading, math, and writing in effort to keep students and disconnected youth or adults engaged in their education so that they can simultaneously receive job-training while learning these subjects. Moreover, participating students have the opportunity to earn college credits while enrolled, supporting student persistence at the postsecondary level.

More information on the webinar, along with slides, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Arlington Career Center Hosts Congressional Staff Visit

November 22nd, 2013

student chefsToday Arlington Career Center (ACC), a regional Career Technical Education (CTE) facility, hosted Congressional staff and other interested stakeholders who had the chance to get a first-hand look at a number of CTE programs in action. Located in Arlington, Virginia, the center is nestled near the urban areas of Northern Virginia. The visit was organized by the Association of Career Technical Education (ACTE) and was a great opportunity to showcase ACC’s commitment to rigorous and engaging CTE programs which serve over 1,100 students in the district.

The visit began with a demonstration from the Culinary Arts program, where students were hard at work baking cookies for an upcoming holiday event. Chef Michael Natoli, the instructor of the program, highlighted the many careers his students have been able to pursue thanks to the training they received in his classroom. Alumni of the program have gone to some of the top culinary institutes in the country and many have pursued rewarding careers in the field.

After wrapping-up with the student chefs, visitors were taken on a tour of the rest of the center.  The automotive technology and auto body repair programs were visited next. Instructors there stressed the value of the program’s relationship with local businesses and highlighted the experiential learning opportunities many area employers are able to provide students during and after program completion. The Mercedes dealership in particular has a strong affiliation with ACC where some students have gone on to earn well over a six-figure salary with credentials and certificates earned through the center at no cost to students or their families.

auto progThroughout the tour similar partnerships and other best practices were shared with those visiting. For instance, ACC’s communication and information systems programs help graduates become certified with Adobe for the company’s suite of software. Students in other programs have the opportunity to learn the technical skills for television and video production and have been able to put them to use later on in their education and careers. Many ACC students have the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school which has helped them transition to other postsecondary opportunities in their field. Every program provided rigorous, hands-on, content and quite a few afforded students the opportunity to “test drive” their career of choice before graduation. This was the case for many health science students who, in conjunction with the local emergency services, are expected to go on ride-along trips with career mentors in their prospective area of study.

At the conclusion of the tour a panel discussion was convened where students, faculty, and state officials discussed ACC’s ongoing successes and focused on the many opportunities these programs have given students.  On the whole, the visit to ACC was a great experience for everyone involved and truly helped to showcase the important and lasting impact CTE programs have on students and their surrounding communities. As Congressional interest in federal CTE legislation intensifies, these types of visits will be an essential part of highlighting the importance of federal investment in CTE through the Carl D. Perkins Act. NASDCTEc and its partners in the CTE community look forward to this process and applaud the great work on display at ACC today.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

NASDCTEc Participates in Congressional Briefing on Perkins

November 13th, 2013

CapitolYesterday Kim Green, Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), participated in a Congressional briefing on the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins). Hosted by the bipartisan Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, the briefing provided information on Perkins and CTE more generally. Policymakers, their staff, and other relevant stakeholders attended the standing room only event which consisted of a panel discussion on these topics. Johan Uvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and Eric Gearhart, Director of Research and Foundation Relations at SkillsUSA, also participated in the briefing.

The panel was spurred by the House Education and Workforce Committee’s ongoing consideration of the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. Deputy Assistant Secretary Uvin began the discussion by framing his remarks around a recent OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) which found that adults in the United States are lagging behind their peers internationally for literacy, numeracy, and problem solving. Uvin argued that CTE is one of the best ways to address this problem. He contended that improving the delivery system and ensuring consistent quality of CTE programs throughout the United States was an important task that the reauthorization process for Perkins must address.

Eric Gearheart organized his remarks through the perspective of the students SkillsUSA, along with other Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), serve on a daily basis. He pointed out that CTE is a great strategy for student engagement and “is essential to enfranchising students throughout the country.”  Gearheart emphasized the mutually beneficial relationship between businesses and CTE programs and argued for tax incentives for the private sector to help encourage these connections.

Green organized her presentation around NASDCTEc’s vision paper Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education which helped to contextualize Gearheart and Uvin’s earlier observations. Green spoke about the history surrounding the Perkins Act, areas in current law that are being considered for improvement, and other insights into the reauthorization process. She also highlighted NASDCTEc’s recent national report on individual state CTE standards.  Green linked the report’s findings to the overall discussion on how to leverage federal investments from the Perkins Act to continue to promote innovation and improve the quality of CTE programs throughout the country.

A question and answer session followed the panel’s presentations where members of the audience posed a series of questions to the panelists. Among the many questions asked, the status of Perkins reauthorization was a recurrent theme throughout. Panelists shared updates on their work to help renew the law, but ultimately agreed that only a concerted bipartisan effort from both chambers in Congress would result in a new iteration of the Carl D. Perkins Act. The House Education and Workforce Committee seems to have earnestly considered this message— following the briefing the committee scheduled a hearing on the Perkins Act for next Tuesday, November 19th.

Please check our blog for more details as this process unfolds.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Recent Publication Looks to Answer the Question, “Is College Worth It?”

November 5th, 2013

State Map

Is college ultimately worth the time, effort, and other assorted costs associated with it? A new paper released yesterday by College Summit and Bellwether Education Partners seeks to answer this question and put the persistent “Is College Worth It?” debate to rest. The whitepaper, funded by Deloitte LLP and titled Smart Shoppers: The End of the “College for All” Debate, reaffirms the value of a postsecondary education and argues that students and parents need additional tools to help them navigate the increasingly opaque marketplace for postsecondary education. The publication was released yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. where a group of distinguished speakers discussed the wider implications of the report’s findings.

J.B. Schramm, founder of College Summit and moderator of the event, emphasized the value of college throughout the morning saying that, “it’s important that we’re arming them [students] with the tools to select the postsecondary education that is the best fit for their individual needs.” He went on to highlight how his organization’s research, “shows time and time again how college is the single best investment young adults can make in their future.” These statements come at a time when the college wage premium is at an all-time high and according to some studies is over 80 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma.

Smart Shoppers also goes to great lengths to conflate the term “college” with the broader idea of postsecondary education. As the authors point out, “Part of the misunderstanding is that to many people ‘college’ suggests a four-year bachelor’s degree” but that is not “what college looks like for the majority of students in the U.S.” The paper goes on to highlight the important role community colleges, remote learning, and postsecondary career technical education (CTE) programs have within the space many collectively refer to as “college” or “higher education.”

This distinction, along with the significant positive impact college has for students over the long-term, was a recurrent theme throughout the event. Industry and business representatives echoed these sentiments and underscored the link between a robust postsecondary education system— one that serves every member of society equitably— and their continued need for a skilled workforce.

The full report can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Legislative Update: Competency Based Learning Highlighted at Recent Senate HELP Committee Hearing

November 1st, 2013


Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee held the second of twelve scheduled hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).  The hearing, titled “Attaining a Quality Degree: Innovations to Improve Student Success,” examined innovative practices in higher education which according to Chairman Harkin (D-IA), “are increasing student learning, engagement and degree completion.” Witnesses at the hearing spoke about a great variety of innovations and offered insight for how to improve higher education. However, one practice in particular— competency-based learning— emerged from the hearing as a clear favorite among those providing testimony.

Competency based education (CBE), according to the President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, “is a student-centered, learning-outcome-based model. Where you get the education is secondary to what you know and are able to do.” This idea— to prioritize mastery of skills and knowledge over time spent in class— was a continual theme throughout the hearing. Dr. R. Scott Ralls, President of the North Carolina Community College System, testified that through this model their students, “are better able to attain meaningful industry certifications as well as traditional academic credentials, built on top of a foundational core of academic, workplace, and technical competencies.” These remarks and others have promising implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) and the broader college- and career-ready agenda as competency-based education can help remove barriers between CTE and core academic courses, and support more innovation in the classroom.

An archived webcast of the hearing, along with witness testimony, can be found here.

Secretary Duncan Unveils Timeline for a College Ratings System

Renewed energy and focus on innovative practices in higher education has largely been spurred by the Obama Administration’s call to make college more affordable. As we shared previously, college tuition and fees have increased by a staggering 538% since 1985 and the administration has made it a priority to combat these rising costs. Towards the end, the President proposed over the summer to link federal financial aid to school performance based on a national college ratings system. Factors such as average tuition, loan debt, graduation rates, and employment outcomes are all being considered to create a college or university’s rating. The administration has planned a series of hearings on college campuses across the country to gather input for the new system.

On Wednesday Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education Secretary, announced a proposed timeline for the creation and roll-out of this ratings system. A “technical symposium” is expected early next year where the rating methodology will be discussed. After this an initial version will be released sometime next spring which will be open for public comment.  Please check our blog for more updates as this process unfolds.

Budget Conference Committee Convenes

Also on Wednesday, the Budget Conference Committee convened for the first time, starting negotiations between both parties over the budget and other fiscal issues such as tax and entitlement reform. The conference committee— created as part of the agreement that ended the most recent government shutdown and raised the debt ceiling— is tasked with reconciling the House and Senate budget proposals which fund the federal government at $967 billion and $1.058 trillion respectively. More information on this committee can be found here. As we shared last week, this is an important opportunity for Congress to reverse or reduce the harmful cuts to the federal budget mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). These cuts, known as sequestration, have had a negative impact on education programs throughout the country and it is critical that the CTE community engage their members of Congress throughout these negotiations.

Although the process has only just begun, the committee must finalize a compromise by December 13th. This gives the appropriations committees in both chambers very little time to craft the necessary 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the federal government before the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on January 15th. In a rare joint letter, Senate Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and House Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), have urged the committee to come to an agreement no later than Thanksgiving. According to the letter an early agreement would allow for, “more thoughtful and responsible spending decisions, set the parameters for the budgetary savings that need to be reached in your Budget conference, and build momentum for a larger budget agreement that addresses the nation’s wide range of fiscal challenges.” The full letter can be found here.

Please check our blog for updates as this process continues to develop.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Federal Government Shutdown and Debt Limit Stalemate Continues

October 11th, 2013

Today marked the 11th day of the federal government shutdown, and many federal agencies and programs remain closed. Congress has been unable to come to an agreement over a temporary spending bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund the federal government at current levels for a short period of time. This week, House Republicans proposed and passed a series of “mini CRs” that would fund certain portions of the federal government, but Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration have reiterated their demand for a “clean CR” which would instead fund the entire federal government and contain no additional provisions unrelated to spending.Capitol

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified before the Senate about the need for Congress to raise the statutory debt limit or face severe economic consequences when the debt ceiling is reached on October 17th. Secretary Lew’s testimony, combined with increasingly unfavorable polling data for the Republican party, has made both sides increasingly amenable to negotiations over these issues.

Last night, President Obama met with the Senate Democratic Caucus and later with a smaller contingent of House Republicans. After these meetings, a new GOP proposal surfaced which would create a six-week extension for the debt limit and set up a framework for negotiations to reopen the federal government. While promising, these proposals fall short of the preconditions Senate Democrats and the White House have set, and it remains unclear how the process will unfold. Negotiations are set to continue and the House will remain in session through next week, canceling a previously scheduled recess.

Check our blog for updates on this evolving situation.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate