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Legislative Update: Congress Returns, Bills Introduced

Congress Returns to Work

The House returned to Washington this week, and the Senate is scheduled to return next week. First on Congress’ agenda is to begin negotiations to extend the payroll tax cut, TANF, unemployment benefits, and Medicare doctor reimbursements. The current two month extension of all of these provisions expires on February 29th.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee has made ESEA reauthorization one of their top priorities this spring. However, Senator Tom Harkin (IA) has said that he will not move the Senate’s ESEA bill to the floor until the House proposes a bipartisan bill. This deadlock makes it increasingly unlikely that ESEA reauthorization will happen this spring.

Congress will also get to work on their budget proposals for FY13 after President Obama releases his budget on February 6th. Many advocates are optimistic that the appropriations process will move more quickly and smoothly than in years past because of the caps set by the debt ceiling deal this summer. Much of the delay surrounding the appropriations process has been due to disagreements over the level of funding. Hopefully, the caps will provide a bipartisan starting point for appropriators.

Bills Introduced

America RISING Act

Rep. Laura Richardson (CA) introduced H.R.3748, the America Realizing the Informational Skills and Initiative of New Graduates (RISING) Act, which would provide grants to assist in the cost of compensation paid by employers to certain recent college graduates and to provide funding for their further education in subjects relating to mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

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