Posts Tagged ‘118th Congress’

Legislative Update: Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill as Cardona Lays Out Vision for U.S. Department of Education

Friday, January 27th, 2023

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers have continued to make important decisions regarding their respective chambers. Elsewhere, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivered a major speech outlining his plans for the department in the coming year, while a slate of Presidential Scholars has been released. 

118th Congress Continues to Take Shape

Earlier this week, both the House and the Senate reconvened after recessing for the recent Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Lawmakers in the House continued to make important decisions related to committee assignments this week, which will have lasting impacts on Career Technical Education (CTE) funding and policymaking for at least the next two years. Of particular note, House Republicans announced that Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) will lead the House Appropriations’ Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-ED) Subcommittee—the entity that determines the budgets for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL), including related programs. In addition, Republicans have named new members to this committee, as have Democrats recently, but both parties have yet to assign members to specific subcommittees, including Labor-HHS-ED. 

Elsewhere, House Republican Leadership announced that the newly renamed House Education and Workforce Committee will be smaller in size than previous Congresses. Led by Chair Virginia Foxx (R-VA), leadership announced assignments to this committee, which has oversight over CTE policymaking. The full roster of Education and Workforce Republicans will include a mix of new and familiar faces in the new Congress. House Democrats have yet to provide a list of members who will be on the committee this year, although leadership recently confirmed that Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) will serve as Ranking Member. 

In the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released Democratic committee roster assignments, including for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Appropriations Committees– the entities with responsibility for CTE policymaking and funding oversight respectively. Of note, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will chair the HELP committee, replacing longtime Chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who will be leading the Appropriations Committee in the new Congress. In addition, Sen. Markey (D-MA) will be joining the HELP Committee this Congress, filling a vacancy left by Sen. Rosen (D-NV) who has been assigned elsewhere. Republicans have yet to announce similar committee assignments.  A needed “organizing resolution” is the next step in this process within the upper chamber, but Senators have not yet moved forward with this procedural requirement which is part of this delay. 

 As Congress works to organize, Advance CTE will continue to monitor these developments and engage with policymakers as the new 118th Congress continues to take shape. 

Secretary Cardona Lays out ED Priorities and Visits CTE Center

In a major speech on Tuesday, January 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona outlined his vision for the U.S. Department of Education for the coming year. The speech entitled, “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” highlighted several priority areas for the Department this year including efforts to boost academic excellence, improve learning conditions, and create more pathways to opportunities for learners.

Significantly, the speech highlighted the importance of CTE saying, in part, “We must challenge our myopic view that emphasizing the importance of career pathways is about limiting students, or the view that it’s four-year-college or bust. Advancing career pathways in high schools is about more options for students, not less. What it does is prepare them for the careers of today with options, and in some cases, their employer will pay for their future education. If we do this well, our graduates will be able to compete on a global stage. It’s my intention to Raise the Bar so we can lead the world in advanced career and technical education.” The full remarks can be found here

Following this speech further into the week, Secretary Cardona made a visit to Francis Tuttle Technology Center– an area technical center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma which has been featured in Congress previously– to tour the facility and highlight the importance of increasing access to CTE pathways programs. More on this visit can be found here.  

ED Announces 2023 Presidential Scholars Slate of Candidates

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced 5,000 learners who were named candidates to become U.S. Presidential Scholars—an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, technical and artistic achievements. As a reminder, in 2015 this program was expanded to include recognition of high-achieving CTE learners. A panel of educators and experts will review these candidate nominations and, using a variety of criteria including transcripts, test scores and portfolios of work, narrow down the list to approximately 600 semifinalists later this spring. Ultimately, the commission will select the final 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars for the upcoming 59th cohort in the program’s history, expected to be announced this upcoming May. More information on the program can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: 118th Congress Begins to Take Shape

Friday, January 13th, 2023

Last weekend, the House formally elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the next Speaker of the House. Earlier this week lawmakers reconvened to adopt a new rules package which determines how the Chamber will operate over the course of the 118th Congress. Elsewhere new leadership for committees overseeing education and workforce development policy have been announced. 

McCarthy Elected Speaker of the House

Early Saturday morning Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was formally elected Speaker of the House after a tumultuous week which saw 14 failed vote attempts to elect a new leader for the chamber. Throughout last week, a small group of House Republicans withheld their support for McCarthy’s speakership bid leading to the week-long impasse. After providing a series of concessions to this group of lawmakers, some of which still have not yet been made public, McCarthy was able to garner most of this group’s support while others voted present, reducing the threshold he needed to win the Speaker’s gavel. Some of these concessions could impact Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding for the coming year, including a promise McCarthy gave to these members to only advance appropriations legislation later this year at or below federal fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels. With a narrow four-seat majority in the House, and with all Democratic lawmakers voting for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), this combination of handshake agreements and concessions provided the support McCarthy needed to secure the Speakership—a critically important leadership position that he has sought since 2015. 

House Adopts New Rules Package

With Speaker McCarthy formally elected, the House recessed until this past Monday where they reconvened and passed a new rules package. These rules outline how the House will operate throughout the 118th Congress, including how legislation will be developed and amended. The package also includes a number of concessions the newly elected Speaker made that are intended to empower rank and file lawmakers at the expense of the Speaker’s office. These concessions include a so-called “motion to vacate” rule, which would allow a single lawmaker to call a vote of no confidence in Speaker McCarthy during this Congress among a slew of other similar rules changes. Additionally, there are new rules that could impact how funding is or is not provided to programs that have authorization periods that have expired. Other new rules in the package would narrow the scope that bills may have to a single subject, making it more difficult to move larger pieces of legislation in the coming year. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze these new rules and their potential impact on CTE funding and policymaking in the new Congress.  

Foxx Selected to Lead Education and Workforce Committee

Following Speaker McCarthy’s election and the adoption of the rules package for the House, the Republican Steering Committee met this week to determine leadership posts for committees. Earlier in the week, the Steering Committee announced that it had selected Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to become Chair of the newly rebranded Education and Workforce Committee—the entity responsible for education and workforce development policymaking in the House. Chair Foxx won this position over Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) who also sought this role. In order to regain the Chair position, Foxx required a waiver from the Steering Committee due to existing Republican Caucus rules that bar committee leaders from serving in leadership posts for three consecutive terms. 

“Conducting vigorous and sustained oversight of the federal government, especially the Departments of Education and Labor, will be among my top priorities,” she said after the announcement of her selection to lead the committee. In addition to oversight of the Biden Administration, Chair Foxx has shared elsewhere that she plans to push for an overhaul of federal student aid programs, similar to what she and other Republicans on the committee proposed last summer, among a number of other priorities. On the Democratic side of the aisle Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), the former chair of the committee, is expected to take on the Ranking Member role to lead Democrats on the committee in minority in the new Congress. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

By Jodi Langellotti in Public Policy
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