116th Congress Kicks Off, Administration to Begin Negotiated Rulemaking on Higher Ed

With the 116th Congress sworn in on January 3, there is a lot of news coming out of Washington, D.C. this week! Read below to learn more about new reports, Congressional leadership, and updates from the Administration on the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Senate Releases Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently released the Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The report provides key details on legislative intent, a section-by-section analysis and shows how the new law made changes to Perkins IV.

Committee Assignments and Changes in the 116th Congress

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Shelby (R-AL) and Vice Chairman Leahy (D-VT) announced that Chairman Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) will remain as the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The House Appropriations Committee leadership has shifted: the new Chairwoman of the Committee is Rep. Lowey (D-NY) and the new Ranking Member is Rep. Granger (R-TX). Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) will serve as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

For the Senate HELP Committee, Sen. Alexander (R-TN) will remain the Chairman and Sen. Murray (D-WA) will remain the Ranking Member. The membership for the Committee shifted slightly: Sen. Young (R-IN) and Sen. Bennet (D-CO) will move off the Committee and Sen. Hatch (R-UT) retired in 2018. Sen. Romney (R-UT), Sen. Braun (R-IN) and Sen. Rosen (D-NV) will be joining the Committee. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is now renamed the House Committee on Education and Labor, as has been past practice when Democrats are in the majority in the House. Rep. Scott (D-VA) is serving as the Committee’s Chairman and Rep. Foxx (R-NC) is serving as the Committee’s Ranking Member. Looking to see when the House and Senate are in session this year? Check out the new calendars here.

2019 Negotiated Rulemaking Proposals Released

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education released recommendations to make significant changes to a variety of higher education regulations. The Committee on Accreditation and Innovation, Subcommittee on Distance Learning and Educational Innovation, Subcommittee on TEACH Grants and Subcommittee on Faith-Based Entities, all comprised of stakeholders, will begin negotiating the proposals starting on January 14 and attempt to reach consensus. If the committee and subcommittees do not reach consensus, the Department of Education will determine whether or not to move forward with regulations.

Additional information on committee and subcommittee members, a schedule of hearings and the proposed regulations can be found here. More information on the negotiated rulemaking process can be found here.

Office of the Inspector General to Look Into ESSA Accountability, Oversight of Title IV

The U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) internal watchdog agency, the Office of the Inspector General, released its 2019 agenda. On the list of priorities for investigation, which is influenced by members of Congress and other officials, is whether USED is providing sufficient oversight into how states are operating their statewide accountability systems. According to an Advance CTE and ESG report released last year, more than 30 states are measuring career readiness in their accountability systems. Also on the Inspector General’s list is whether USED is providing sufficient oversight into states’ use of Student Success and Academic Enrichment grants, a $1.1 billion grant program that can be used to support well-rounded educational activities, which includes Career Technical Education (CTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate and Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

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