Posts Tagged ‘Continuing Resolution’

Legislative Update: Maryland State CTE Director Testifies As Congress Extends FY24 Funding

Friday, January 19th, 2024

This week Richard Kincaid, Maryland’s State Career Technical Education (CTE) Director, testified in the House while Congress passed a much-needed extension of federal funding as negotiations continue on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations. 

Lawmakers Pass Last-Minute CR

Lawmakers in the House and the Senate continued to negotiate a path forward on FY24 appropriations this week as two funding deadlines drew closer. As shared last week, Congressional leaders and the White House announced a new deal on aggregate spending levels, known as toplines, for the defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) portions of the federal budget. This agreement came after months of unsuccessful negotiations between the chambers since the formal start of FY24 on October 1, 2023. 

A new deal on federal topline spending has been a critical next step in moving forward with the dozen funding measures that compose the federal budget since the start of FY24 last fall. While this is an important next step, current federal funding—extended by two separate continuing resolutions (CRs)— was set to expire today and on February 2. Lawmakers therefore had to act quickly this week to avert a partial government shutdown as these negotiations continued. With a snowstorm hitting Washington, D.C. just before the January 19 deadline lawmakers were able to find consensus this week on another set of CRs that extends federal funding through early March. These measures cleared the Senate first on a 77-18 margin and later in the House, under an expedited legislative process, by a margin of 314-108. Notably, nearly half of the House Republican conference voted against this short-term funding extension.  

The Labor-HHS-ED funding measure, which provides funding for education and workforce development investments like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), is included within a tranche of seven other funding measures that have FY23 funding levels extended through March 8. The remaining four funding bills, which would have expired today, have also been extended through March 1 by this short-term extension. The House is now on recess until January 29 while the Senate remains in session deliberating on federal appropriations and other legislative agenda items.   

As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust and strengthened investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other investments of interest to the wider CTE community. 

Maryland State CTE Director Testifies Before House Lawmakers

Yesterday, January 18, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, led by Reps. Aaron Bean (R-FL) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) held a hearing titled  “Preparing Students for Success in the Skills-Based Economy.” Notably, Richard Kincaid, Senior Executive Director for the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of College and Career Pathways and a member of Advance CTE, testified at the hearing along with several other witnesses including Kelly Mosley, a local CTE Director in Clay County Florida, along with Danny Corwin, Executive Director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

Richard’s testimony focused on Maryland’s ongoing efforts to provide pathways to opportunity for all students. Specifically, his remarks highlighted the state’s work to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a multi-billion dollar statewide investment that aims to provide “…all students [with] equitable access to rigorous education that prepares them for college, career and life…” among other aspects of the effort. Richard also highlighted the state’s use of American Rescue Plan funding via the Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) program which has supported a substantial expansion of youth apprenticeship programs in the state. 

More broadly the hearing touched on a number of topics related to secondary CTE, including and especially the need to invest additional resources into these efforts to provide more opportunities for learners. For instance, during her line of questioning, Rep. Bonamici, also the co-chair of the House CTE Caucus and Ranking Member of this subcommittee, highlighted that the federal investment in CTE, made by Perkins, has eroded considerably over the last few decades and asked what additional funding could do for states like Maryland. Kincaid answered, in part,  that “…using Perkins as a lever to reinvest additional funding into these programs would be a game changer for places like Maryland that rely on federal funds to move this agenda forward…” 

Elsewhere, recent research conducted by Advance CTE on secondary CTE financing was also highlighted by witnesses, including Harbor Freight’s Corwin who shared a startling datapoint with lawmakers– funding for CTE represents just three percent of all K-12 spending in the United States. More importantly, without the federal investment made by Perkins V’s basic state grant program, this percentage drops to just one percent of all K-12 spending across the nation, underscoring the enormous importance of strengthening and drastically increasing federal funding for CTE. 

Advance CTE applauds lawmakers in the House for holding this hearing and providing these witnesses an opportunity to highlight how important it is to increase opportunities for learners to engage with high-quality CTE opportunities in their communities. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be accessed here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers Announce New Spending Deal

Friday, January 12th, 2024

Over the last few weeks lawmakers have begun to make progress towards agreement on full-year funding for the federal budget. In addition, the House is expected to host a hearing next week examining how to best prepare students for the workforce. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issues new guidance related to pandemic aid funding and proposes new rules for federal grant programs. 

Congressional Leaders Announce FY24 Topline Agreement

Just before returning to Capitol Hill following Congress’ annual holiday recess, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that they had reached agreement on aggregate spending levels, also known as toplines, for defense and non-defense discretionary portions of the federal budget. The agreement largely aligns with the requirements contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA)—legislation enacted last year that suspended the nation’s statutory borrowing limit while establishing a budget framework for federal fiscal years 2024 (FY24) and FY25. This agreement also included a “side deal” agreed to by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to provide approximately $69 billion in additional funding, beyond what was contained in the FRA, to avoid substantial cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs like federal investments in Career Technical Education (CTE).

The agreement is a critical next step in the FY24 budget and appropriations process that has been ongoing since October 1 of last year. Appropriations leaders must now work to negotiate 302(b) allocations—funding levels for each of the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget and then subsequently determine program-level funding for federal initiatives and programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). Current federal funding, which has been operating under two separate continuing resolutions (CRs) that temporarily extended FY23 funding levels for separate portions of the federal budget, is set to expire on January 19 and February 2 respectively. Lawmakers will need to act by these dates, likely via another short-term CR, to avert a partial or full shutdown of the federal government as they continue to negotiate program allocations under this new FY24 agreement.

Complicating the pathways forward, a faction of conservative House Republicans has voiced significant opposition to this topline agreement and has recently made efforts to stymie legislative progress on this issue in protest of the accord. It remains unclear at this time how Congressional leaders in both chambers will chart a course forward as they continue to develop and finalize FY24 appropriations legislation. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will be advocating for a strengthened investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program, along with other critical investments in education and workforce development of interest to the wider CTE community. 

House Education Subcommittee to Hold Hearing Next Week

Next Thursday, January 18, at 10:15 a.m., the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Aaron Bean (R-FL), plans to hold a hearing titled: “Preparing Students for Success in the Skills-Based Economy.” The subcommittee has not yet published the witness list for the hearing but it is expected to focus broadly on strategies and efforts to prepare learners for growing and in-demand careers. The hearing will be live-streamed here

ED Issues Guidance on Pandemic Funding

On Tuesday, January 9, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) issued a guidance letter outlining the process K-12 schools and districts must undertake to obtain an extension to spend down remaining federal aid provided by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department is encouraging grantees to request an extension on this year’s spending deadline by December 31, 2024 and outline how such an extension will contribute to the core goals and objectives of these funds. More information on how to apply for additional funding flexibilities, including related forms, can be accessed here.

ED Proposes Grant Rule Changes

This week ED also published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that aims to amend the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). The proposed rule would make a series of technical updates to EDGAR, which provides an overarching framework for the agency’s administration of discretionary and formula grant programs. The proposed changes range from technical updates to substantive revisions intended to streamline existing regulations, align EDGAR more closely with other more recently passed federal legislation and increase flexibility in grant administration. In the NPRM, ED estimates the proposed rule would result in a net reduction of burden for grantees. Most amendments are technical in nature or provide additional flexibilities. ED is soliciting comments from the public for the next 45 days and will close on February 26.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Announces a Flurry of Education and Workforce Development Legislation

Friday, December 8th, 2023

This week, the Senate introduced a legislative proposal that would make significant updates to legislation that authorizes federal research and data functions, while lawmakers in the House introduced new bipartisan proposals that would reform the Pell Grant program to make shorter-term Career Technical Education (CTE) programs eligible for funding as well as a comprehensive reauthorization proposal for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

HELP Committee Unveils Bipartisan Education Sciences Reform Act Reauthorization

Earlier this week the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unveiled the Advancing Research in Education Act (AREA) — bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize and update the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). ESRA authorizes many critical federal education data and research functions and this proposal would make significant updates to many aspects of this legislation. Specifically, AREA would make education research more responsive to the needs of learners, teachers and other education stakeholders while increasing the use of rigorous evidence to better support teaching and learning. Of note for the CTE community, this legislation would broaden the scope of these activities to include a stronger focus on learners’ labor market and workforce outcomes. 

Advance CTE has been engaged throughout this wider reauthorization process, including by supporting the introduction of the Data for American Jobs Act (DAJA) earlier this year. Encouragingly many aspects of this proposal have been incorporated in the current committee draft proposal. A mark-up of AREA is scheduled for next week on Tuesday, December 12 at 10 a.m. ET. Read the HELP committee summary on the proposed changes contained in AREA.

House Leaders Release New Workforce Pell Proposal 

On Tuesday, December 5, Reps. Stefanik (R-NY) and DeSaulnier (D-CA), along with House Education and Workforce Committee Chair and Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) and Scott (D-VA), introduced H.R. 6586, the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (BWPA). This legislation is a compromise proposal that combines aspects of previously introduced short-term Pell Grant legislative proposals sponsored by Chair Foxx and Ranking Member Scott respectively. The BWPA would establish a number of eligibility criteria that would be overseen and implemented by state workforce development boards, higher education accreditors and the U.S. Department of Education intended to ensure program quality and rigor. Advance CTE is encouraged to see additional bipartisan movement on this critical issue and is continuing to analyze the bill for implications for the CTE community. More information can be accessed in this fact sheet and related summary

House Committee Introduces Comprehensive WIOA Reauthorization Proposal

Yesterday, December 7, the House Education and Workforce (E&W) Committee introduced H.R. 6655, A Stronger Workforce for America Act (ASWA). The legislation would comprehensively reauthorize WIOA and make significant changes to core aspects of this legislation including related to eligible training provider lists and the provision of training services provided by the system. Encouragingly, the proposal would make significant improvements to workforce data infrastructure and linkages, codify grant programs for community college training initiatives and would strengthen alignment between career pathways and CTE programs of study among other aspects of the legislation. Advance CTE and partners are continuing to review this proposal and anticipate further consideration of the legislation sometime early next week. 

FY24 Funding Negotiations Make Little Progress

As shared previously, Congress recently passed another short-term extension of federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding just before Thanksgiving. This continuing resolution (CR) created a “laddered” approach to funding federal operations with Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations extending funding through February 2, 2024 (along with seven other funding bills), while four other bills expire January 19, 2024. 

Since that time, however, lawmakers have struggled to make meaningful progress toward negotiating full-year FY24 appropriations legislation. This includes a lack of agreement on “topline” levels for the federal budget needed to develop individual sub-allocations for each of the 12 individual spending bills that compose federal operations, including the Labor-HHS-ED measure which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other programs of interest to the CTE community.

As a reminder, conservative lawmakers in the House have spent most of the calendar year seeking to advance legislation that would significantly and dramatically cut funding for the entire federal budget, including for many workforce development and education programs. Most recently, this faction of House Republicans now appears to be softening demands for steep cuts to federal spending, including these investments. Despite this modest progress, agreement between lawmakers on this critical topline issue still appears to be out of reach this week. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) recently floated the idea of a year-long CR if agreement could not be reached soon. However, leaders in the Senate have vocally opposed this idea.

As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust and strengthened funding for Perkins V’s state grant program and other funding priorities of the CTE community. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Returns from Recess

Friday, December 1st, 2023

Congress returned this week from its Thanksgiving recess with a list of important agenda items that must be addressed before the end of the year. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education announced new funding for full-service community schools while federal agencies announced the availability of free COVID-19 testing kits for schools. 

Agreement on Full-year FY24 Funding Remains Elusive

Prior to Thanksgiving, Congress passed another short-term extension of federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding. The continuing resolution (CR) bifurcated the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal operations into two separate groups, each with a different expiration date. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations component of this legislation would extend funding for programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) through February 2, along with seven other funding bills, while four other funding measures are set to expire on January 19 of next year.

With these new funding extensions now in place, lawmakers must still work to negotiate full-year FY24 funding legislation. However, lawmakers appear to be currently prioritizing other items on the legislative agenda before turning to this important issue. As these efforts take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the CTE community as part of the wider FY24 appropriations process. 

ED Announces New Community School Funding

On Tuesday, November 28, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the distribution of roughly $74 million in new funding for full-service community schools — comprehensive K-12 schools that are intended to provide more holistic and comprehensive wraparound services and related supports to learners and families to improve wider outcomes. “I am proud that the Biden-Harris Administration is expanding the number of community schools across the country as an evidence-based strategy to Raise the Bar in education and to deliver on our commitment to support students, families, and whole communities,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated as part of the announcement. The new round of funding will target schools in four new states, including Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio. Read more in the press release.

COVID-19 Test Kits Available for Schools 

This week the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new effort to distribute COVID-19 testing kits free of charge to schools across the country. “The Biden-Harris Administration remains a committed partner with schools in keeping our students and teachers safe and healthy,” said ED’s Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez as part of the announcement. Read more in the press release.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Extends Funding Through Early Next Year

Friday, November 17th, 2023

This week, Congress passed another short-term extension of current funding for all federal programs and operations through early 2024. The measure maintains current funding levels for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) along with other critical investments in education and workforce development. 

Congress Approves Funding Extension

After weeks of uncertainty, newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced plans over the weekend to advance legislation that would temporarily extend current federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funds through early next year. The legislation bifurcates the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal government into two separate tranches — known as a “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) — with two separate expiration dates of January 19 and February 2. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations component of this legislation would extend funding for programs like Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) through the February 2 deadline.

The laddered CR approach was initially met with skepticism by some lawmakers, as the strategy does not appear to fundamentally change the underlying dynamics of Congress’ current challenges in finding common ground on full-year FY24 spending. Nonetheless, the measure was introduced in the House this week and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority by a margin of 336-95. Notably, 93 Republicans and two Democrats voted against the measure—a dynamic that, just a few months ago, led to the surprising ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this fall. The laddered CR was quickly taken up by the Senate where it was passed on a bipartisan basis by a margin of 87-11. The bill was just recently signed into law by President Biden before current funding legislation was set to expire later today (November 17).

Ostensibly, the passage of a CR is intended to provide lawmakers more time to negotiate FY24 appropriations legislation. However, both chambers have struggled to make progress on their respective slates of appropriations legislation. Meanwhile, in the House, Republican leaders were forced to pull the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill from further consideration after it became clear the measure would likely not have the necessary support to clear the chamber. House leaders were forced to pull other spending measures from consideration for similar reasons the last few weeks as well.

While the passage of the CR will avoid a government shutdown for the remainder of this calendar year, it remains unclear how Congress will use this additional time to either pass additional individual appropriations legislation, negotiate a larger full-year FY24 package or take an alternative route altogether. Advance CTE is continuing to engage with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure that the funding needs of the CTE community are realized as part of this wider process. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: FY24 Funding Deadline Approaches

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

This week, lawmakers struggled to find common ground on a path forward on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding as a new deadline next week quickly approaches while the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance regarding federal civil rights obligations. 

Agreement on FY24 Funding Remains Out of Reach

This week, lawmakers continued to struggle to find consensus on a pathway forward on FY24 funding. As a reminder, the short-term extension of current FY23 funding levels, known as a continuing resolution (CR), is set to expire next week on November 17. Since neither chamber has made significant progress on individual FY24 appropriations legislation this week, lawmakers must now find consensus on another approach before this fast-approaching deadline.

Earlier this week, House Republicans met to consider several possible strategies, including a “laddered CR” approach, which would stagger deadlines of various appropriations bills over the next several weeks. However, House Republicans did not reach consensus on this, and it remains unclear how Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) plans to proceed. Recent reports indicate that the House may try to consider an extension of funding sometime early next week. Meanwhile, in the Senate, leaders are reportedly working on a forthcoming proposal to extend current funding levels. However, most recently, Republican Senate leaders have called for additional funding for issues at the southern border, which has complicated progress in the chamber. 

With only five legislative days until next week’s deadline, lawmakers appear to be no closer to finding agreement on FY24 funding due to these outstanding differences. Advance CTE is monitoring this process closely and engaging with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure that the funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community are met through this wider process. 

ED Issues Dear Colleague Letter Regarding Obligations to Address Discrimination

Over the last several weeks, several hate-based or bias-based incidents across the nation have occurred with increasing frequency following rising tensions in the Middle East. In response, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter to schools and institutions re-emphasizing their responsibilities and obligations under the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to provide students with environments free of discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. In addition, the House Education and Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development is holding a hearing on the same topic next week while members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee are holding a roundtable drawing attention to this issue. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Speaker McCarthy Ousted

Friday, October 6th, 2023

Following a tumultuous series of events last week which culminated in the passage of a short-term extension of current federal funding, a group of House Republicans moved this week to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his leadership position. 

Kevin McCarthy Removed From Leadership Role

Earlier this week a small group of conservative House lawmakers, primarily members of the House Freedom Caucus led by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), introduced a motion to vacate on Monday, October 2 – a formal legislative measure that ejects the sitting Speaker of the House from this position. As a reminder, in order to become Speaker earlier this year, Kevin McCarthy was forced to give a number of concessions related to the House’s rules to this group of conservative lawmakers given the extremely narrow margin of control in the chamber. Among these concessions was a rule change that allows any single Republican member to introduce a motion to vacate. This rule change has given rank-and-file members in the House enormous control over the legislative process this year given they could threaten to oust the Speaker with this procedural measure.  

Ostensibly this group of lawmakers, which has been seeking significant domestic spending reductions including for education and workforce programs, was upset with Speaker McCarthy because he introduced legislation last week, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to temporarily extend current federal fiscal year 2023 funding through November 17. This action was at odds with this group’s preferred vision for FY24 funding. The motion to vacate was passed by the full House chamber by a margin of 216-210 — an unprecedented move that formally removed Speaker McCarthy from office on Tuesday afternoon. Shortly after the vote, McCarthy announced that he would not seek to be renominated for the position.

In the interim, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has replaced McCarthy on an acting basis until the House elects a new Speaker. Speaker Pro Tempore McHenry adjourned the House shortly after the vote and is expected to bring lawmakers back to DC next week. House Republicans are expected to convene early next week to formally consider several candidates that are currently vying for the Speaker position including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH). Advance CTE is monitoring this process closely and will provide future updates for implications for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community as efforts to elect a new Speaker unfold.  

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Passes Last-Minute Funding Extension

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

After weeks of fruitless negotiations on Capitol Hill the last few months regarding a pathway forward on full-year federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations, lawmakers emerged with a temporary deal to avert an expected government shutdown this past weekend. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently published anticipated postsecondary regulations. 

Lawmakers Narrowly Avert Government Shutdown

In a surprising turn of events Saturday morning, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) introduced a 45-day legislative extension of federal funding to provide Congress more time to negotiate a pathway forward on longer-term appropriations legislation. For the last few months, Speaker McCarthy and his leadership team have repeatedly indicated that they would not allow the House to consider such an extension, known as a continuing resolution (CR), without significant spending and policy concessions demanded by conservative factions within the House Republican caucus. However, Speaker McCarthy abruptly set these demands aside Saturday morning, several hours before a government shutdown was set to begin, and introduced a CR that would simply extend current FY23 funding for federal programs and operations for the next 45 days. 

This measure was subsequently advanced by the full House of Representatives on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, 335-91. Following a contentious debate in the House, the bill was quickly sent to the Senate, where it was advanced by a margin of 88-9, before being sent to President Biden and signed into law. 

In the short term, this legislation prevents a government shutdown and will provide more time for lawmakers to continue to negotiate a pathway forward on full-year FY24 funding. However, with 90 House Republicans voting no on the measure, and with concessions Speaker McCarthy was forced to give earlier this year to conservative lawmakers in his party, this group of lawmakers may seek to force a vote to remove McCarthy from this leadership role as these efforts continue to get underway. Equally as important, Democrats’ and Republicans’ respective visions for FY24 funding still remain significantly far apart– despite the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) which established, in part, a framework intended to facilitate the passage of a full-year FY24 funding measure this year. 

Consensus on FY24 funding is likely to prove contentious in the weeks ahead. As these negotiations progress, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the passage of full-year FY24 appropriations legislation, including a strengthened investment in CTE via the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program as proposed by the Senate earlier this year. 

ED Finalizes Gainful Employment Rule

Earlier this year, ED proposed a new iteration of gainful employment (GE) rules– regulations that apply to certain postsecondary programs and are intended to ensure that learners are able to pay back federal financial aid obligations. Advance CTE and partners submitted comments to the department during this time and encouraged the agency to consider alternative ways to measure learners’ earnings as well as other suggestions to improve the proposal. Following this comment period, which attracted more than 7,500 responses from the public, ED published a preview of its final GE rule which will be formally published in the Federal Register on October 10. 

The final rule mirrors this earlier proposal closely and would apply to postsecondary career education programs that are otherwise eligible for aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The rule includes a debt-to-earnings measure that would compare learners’ debt burdens to their total and discretionary income. In addition, the final rule includes a high school earnings measure which would compare the earnings of those that complete a program with the median earnings of a high school graduate in their state. If a program fails on the same measure twice within a three-year period, it would lose eligibility to receive Title IV funding. 

In addition, the rulemaking also includes a new financial value transparency framework (FVT). This component of the rules package is intended to provide learners and families with greater information and insights into the value proposition of enrolling in a postsecondary program prior to enrollment. The FVT would proactively disclose information related to program costs and potential return on investment with learners prior to receiving federal financial aid. This is intended to prevent learners from enrolling in a program that has the potential to leave them with unaffordable debt obligations. The FVT would also require learners to proactively affirm that they understand these risks prior to enrolling and using federal financial aid.

The final GE rules are set to go into effect July 1, 2024. The FVT requires the collection of new student outcomes information over the next two years and is expected to come into full effect mid-2026. However, as with previous ED regulatory efforts on this issue, there is a strong possibility that litigation may delay the implementation of one or both components of this rules package in the future. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this proposal for wider implications for the CTE community and will be closely monitoring its implementation in the coming months. Additional information related to this rulemaking can be found in this factsheet

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Stalemate on Funding Continues While House Examines WIOA

Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill remained in session this week but have continued to struggle to find a pathway forward on federal funding for the upcoming fiscal year. Elsewhere, the House held a hearing to formally examine updating workforce development legislation. 

Congress Remains Deadlocked on FY24 Funding

This week the House and the Senate continued to struggle to find consensus on a pathway forward on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding. With FY24 set to begin on October 1, lawmakers must pass stopgap spending legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to extend current federal funding levels as negotiations on longer-term FY24 legislation continue. House Republican leaders, however, are struggling to build consensus within their own caucus about the duration and content of the CR as well as longer-term FY24 spending proposals. As a result, a government shutdown is appearing increasingly likely on October 1. While the Senate was expected to advance several more FY24 measures this week, those efforts have also failed to move forward as initially scheduled.

Both impasses are due to opposition from conservative Republicans demanding significant spending and policy concessions in exchange for their support for both a CR and, more broadly, full-year FY24 funding legislation. In addition, Republican lawmakers in the House have only considered spending proposals that dramatically reduce current federal funding, including funding for wider education and workforce development investments, by amounts far beyond the requirements of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) approved earlier this year. With the margins of control in both chambers extremely narrow, continued conservative opposition and demands to further cut domestic programs land exact other concessions have stalled Congress’ ability to reach a consensus. As this impasse continues, Advance CTE will continue to engage with partners in Congress to advocate for robust funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) and other funding streams important to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community.

House Holds Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Hearing

On Wednesday, September 20, the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing titled “Strengthening WIOA: Improving Outcomes for Jobseekers, Employers, and Taxpayers.” The hearing, which was framed by the committee as a formal first step towards a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), focused extensively on a number of issues including potential reforms to the law that would increase access to training opportunities. The hearing also focused extensively on ways to better promote employer engagement and to improve data transparency and accountability within the legislation. Lawmakers and witnesses also discussed strategies and approaches to better support youth populations and provide them with more robust training and employment options. Witness testimony and opening statements can be accessed in the recording of the hearing.

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Struggles to Find Agreement on Funding

Friday, September 15th, 2023

Both the House and the Senate were in session this week as lawmakers struggled to find consensus on a pathway forward on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding. With only a few legislative days left on the Congressional calendar until the start of FY24, the status of federal funding is currently uncertain. 

FY24 Funding Remains in Focus

On Tuesday, the House formally reconvened after Congress’ annual August recess. The Senate has been in session since last week and is working to advance a “minibus” funding legislation– a measure containing three of the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal budget. As a reminder, the Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced each of the 12 FY24 spending bills out of committee for full consideration by the Senate just before the August recess. These measures included a proposed $40 million in increased funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V*) basic state grant program. 

These efforts stand in stark contrast to the House, where Republican lawmakers have struggled to find consensus on a much broader swath of their FY24 spending proposals. Broadly, the Chamber remains much further behind than the Senate. More importantly, Republican lawmakers in the House are advancing spending proposals that cut federal funding, including for other significant education and workforce development efforts, by significant amounts beyond the requirements of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) approved earlier this year.

The Senate’s and House’s respective visions for FY24 funding remain dramatically far apart. With only a few legislative days left before the next fiscal year begins on October 1, legislation that would extend current funding levels for a specified period of time (known as a Continuing Resolution or “CR”) will be needed. However, conservative factions in the House have indicated that they will not support a CR without steep spending cuts and a number of other policy concessions, including consideration of the impeachment of President Biden. These demands are not supported by the White House or party leadership in the Senate, leaving all three at an impasse during this critical juncture of the appropriations process.

The extreme distance between the House and Senate FY24 spending proposals and the positions currently taken by the House, Senate, and the White House mean that negotiations in the coming weeks are likely to be contentious and the potential for a government shutdown remains elevated. As these negotiations take place, The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will continue to advocate continued government operations without disruption and for robust funding for critical funding streams important to the K-12 community.

As these talks move forward, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for critical funding streams important to the CTE community. Be sure to let your Senators and Representatives know how important CTE funding is by clicking here

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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