Legislative Update: Appropriations Process Continues, House and Senate Pass FUTURE Act

This week, appropriators continued to work on the Fiscal Year 2020 funding agreement. Read below to learn more about next steps, a bill to fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities and simplify the FAFSA, a hearing on borrower defense regulations and resources on employer engagement.  

Appropriators Make Progress on Government Funding Deal 

This afternoon, congressional appropriation leaders came to a “deal in principle” to fund the federal government through the rest of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). The announcement was made by House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), along with Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is possible that a vote on this agreement will take place in the House early next week. Earlier this month appropriators announced that they reached an agreement on each of the total allocations for the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government (referred to as 302(b) levels). These 12 funding levels have not been shared with the public yet. 

Currently, federal funding is operating through a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), that is set to expire on December 20, 2019. This is the second CR of FY20

House and Senate Pass Bill on HBCU Funding and FAFSA Simplification

Earlier this week, the House and Senate both passed an amended version of the FUTURE Act (H.R.2486/S.1279) which would permanently fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The bill was amended to include language from the FAFSA Simplification Act that would simplify the number of questions learners and families need to submit to receive federal student aid. Previously, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) had included both FAFSA simplification and FUTURE Act language as part of a broader “mini” Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization entitled The Student Aid Improvement Act (S.2257). Concerns from HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) that the The Student Aid Improvement Act was not a sufficiently comprehensive HEA reform meant that this funding was in jeopardy. However, in the past week introduction and passage of the FUTURE Act received bipartisan support that allowed the bill to move forward. The legislation now heads to the President to be signed into law.

Secretary DeVos Testifies at Hearing on Borrower Defense Regulations

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified to the House Committee on Education & Labor regarding the handling of the nearly 300,000 borrower defense claims submitted by students who were defrauded by some for-profit institutions that have closed, such as Corinthian College. Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) began by sharing his concern and frustration that current regulations were not being followed “in good faith.” This hearing follows a ruling from a federal judge in October that found Secretary Devos was in contempt of court for continuing to collect on debts that were previously ordered by the court to be halted. 

U.S. Department of Labor Shares Resources on Employer Engagement

The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration shared a page on the WorkforceGPS website with resources to support employer engagement. Some of the topics include apprenticeships, the business perspective and strategies for engagement. Check out Advance CTE’s Cheat Sheet: Opportunities for Employer Involvement in CTE to learn about ways that employers can get involved with CTE programs.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Comments are closed.