Posts Tagged ‘FY 2024 Funding’

New Short-Term FY24 Funding Deal Announced | Legislative Update

Friday, March 1st, 2024

This week lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill following an extended recess period. With a critical funding deadline landing this week, Congress announced a new short-term extension of existing federal funding to provide more time for ongoing negotiations to continue. Elsewhere, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that he is stepping down while new apprenticeship grants have been announced by federal agencies. 

Lawmakers Announce New Short-Term Funding Agreement

Two critical funding deadlines for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) have swiftly approached: today, March 1, and next week on March 8, when existing FY24 funding is set to expire. As Advance CTE has been sharing for the last several weeks, Congressional leaders have been struggling to find consensus on full-year FY24 appropriations legislation, including the measure that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

With time running short, Congressional leaders have been meeting throughout the week to chart a path forward. Late Wednesday evening, Congressional leaders announced a new bipartisan FY24 funding agreement extending these deadlines, at current FY23 funding levels, through March 8 and 22. The new continuing resolution (CR) agreement splits the dozen annual funding measures that compose the federal budget into two tranches. These two tranches now equally divide these measures with half now expiring next Friday, March 8, and the remainder on March 22. Of note for the Career Techincal Education (CTE) community, the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) funding measure, which provides funding for the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) along with programs these agencies administer, lands on the latter of these dates.

This agreement is intended to provide lawmakers with additional time to resolve outstanding issues related to full-year FY24 funding. These issues reportedly continue to center on the inclusion of additional and controversial policies, known as “policy riders,” which some Republican lawmakers are seeking to attach to FY24 funding measures while Democrats have remained opposed. Yesterday, the House passed this additional short-term CR by a 320-99 margin. The Senate quickly took up this latest CR and passed it by a wide, bipartisan basis 77-13. The measure now heads to President Biden’s desk where it will be signed into law prior to the existing March 1 funding deadline. Advance CTE is continuing to advocate for a robust investment in CTE via Perkins V’s basic state grant program as part of this wider process and looks forward to its timely completion soon. 

Senate Minority Leader McConnell Announces Retirement

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced earlier this week that he plans to step down from his leadership role later this year and retire at the end of his current Senate term (lasting through 2026). McConnell has led the Senate Republican Conference since 2007. Multiple senators, including John Thune (R-SD), John Cornyn (R-TX), and John Barrasso (R-WY) are widely expected to vie to succeed McConnell later this year. A formal election for the next Senate Republican leader is expected to take place sometime after the upcoming November elections.

DOL Announces $200M in New Apprenticeship Funding  

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of nearly $200 million in new discretionary funding to expand registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs). This latest round of apprenticeship funding includes roughly $100 million in funding for State Apprenticeship Expansion grant funding and $95 million for a second phase of its Apprenticeship Building America, Round 2 (ABA2) grant initiative. Of note for the CTE community, the ABA2 grants include a new priority for applications that emphasize RAP alignment with education systems. 

The funding announcement goes on to indicate that additional priority will be given to applications that include CTE and those that also promote postsecondary credit attainment that can articulate for a degree. These funding opportunities are intended to align with DOL’s wider efforts to update apprenticeship regulations, including broadening training opportunities into more non-traditional economic sectors and for underrepresented populations while emphasizing greater intentional alignment with education systems, including CTE. More information on the grant announcements can be found here and here.

HELP Committee Renominates Julie Su

Earlier this week the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reconsidered Julie Su’s nomination to be the next U.S. Secretary of Labor. As a reminder, Su has been serving in an acting capacity as the head of DOL since her nomination stalled in the Senate last year following opposition from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and all Senate Republicans. The committee advanced Su’s nomination on a party line vote, 11-10, but it remains unclear if she will garner the necessary support within the full chamber to be formally confirmed. A time to further consider her nomination has not yet been scheduled. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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CTE Month Gets Underway, FY24 Negotiations Continue | Legislative Update

Friday, February 2nd, 2024

This week marks the formal start of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month® which lawmakers have started to formally recognize on Capitol Hill. Elsewhere appropriations leaders continue to negotiate full-year funding for the current fiscal year. 

Congress Continues to Negotiate FY24 Budget

This week, appropriations leaders continued negotiations on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies. As shared previously, lawmakers recently extended federal funding on another short-term basis through March 1 and March 8 of this year to allow more time for negotiations on this critical issue. Lawmakers have reportedly come to an agreement on allocations for each of the dozen spending bills that compose the federal budget, known as 302(b) allocations. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) state grant program along with other important federal investments in education and workforce development. 

While the specific allocations have not yet been made public, this agreement represents a critical next step in the wider FY24 process and is an indication that these discussions are progressing toward an expected resolution ahead of the upcoming funding deadlines in early March. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE and partners are continuing to advocate for a strengthened investment in Perkins V’s formula grant program. 

CTE Month Kicks-Off 

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) formally introduced a Congressional resolution recognizing February as CTE month. “We are pleased to support the 2024 Career Technical Education Month resolution as a celebration of CTE’s contributions to our learners and communities, and applaud the leadership of the House CTE Caucus, led by Representatives Thompson and Bonamici, to highlight CTE’s central role in advancing economic opportunity for every learner across the nation,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director, Kate Kreamer, said upon introduction. The House caucus is currently circulating this resolution for additional support. Be sure to ask your representative to co-sponsor this year’s CTE month resolution.

In addition, co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus led by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), R. Michael Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) are leading a similar CTE Month resolution in the chamber. More information on the status of this resolution can be found here with our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Be sure to encourage your senators to support this effort if they have not done so already! 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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FY24 Funding Progress Slows, U.S. Department of Education Announces Career-Connected Grants | Legislative Update

Friday, January 26th, 2024

This week lawmakers struggled to make progress on federal appropriations for the current fiscal year while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new career-connected high school grants. Elsewhere, federal agencies formally unveiled a significant new regulatory proposal related to apprenticeships. 

Congress Extends FY24 Funding for Another Month

As shared last week, Congress passed an additional short-term extension of federal funding, known as a continuing resolution, which extends FY23 funding levels for federal programs through March 1 and March 8 later this year. The “laddered” CR is intended to provide lawmakers more time to negotiate full-year appropriations for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) which began last October. Of note for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V), which is included in the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill, is set to expire on the latter of these two dates in March. 

While this development is an encouraging step in the wider FY24 process, appropriations leaders must still establish individual allocations for each of the dozen bills that compose the federal budget. Known as 302(b) allocations, lawmakers have continued to struggle this week to successfully negotiate these funding levels including for the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill. Until 302(b)s are determined, lawmakers cannot move forward with negotiations on program-level funding, including for Perkins V’s basic state grant program and other important investments in education and workforce development. It remains unclear how lawmakers will come to a resolution on this important issue with current reports indicating that little progress has been made this week. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for the foundational federal investment made by Perkins V. 

U.S. Department of Education Announces Career-Connected High School Grants

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited the Advanced Technical Center—an area career technical school located in Washington, DC and recently featured in the Washington Post for its impact on chronic student absenteeism in DC. During the visit, Secretary Cardona announced a slate of new grants as part of his agency’s career-connected high school initiative

Advance CTE has previously highlighted that the activities authorized under this new discretionary grant program can already be funded using resources from Perkins V’s basic state grant program. In announcing 19 grant awards in total as part of this effort, which will benefit 17 states, the agency indicated that it received 160 applications for this funding totaling nearly $850 million. These applications for funding demonstrate significant unfilled demand for CTE programming which can only be addressed through a strengthened systemic investment via Perkins V’s state grant program. “The Biden-Harris Administration is going to keep on fighting to provide every student in every community with career-connected learning,” Cardona said as part of the announcement. More information on these grants can be found here

DOL Moves Forward With Apprenticeship Regulations Impacting CTE

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) formally published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) last week which is intended to significantly update and overhaul the existing regulatory framework for registered apprenticeship programs. As shared previously, this NPRM also includes a new “CTE Apprenticeship” component with implications for state CTE agencies and systems. Yesterday, DOL hosted a webinar providing a high-level overview of this proposal. An archived webcast, including related presentation materials, can be accessed here. Comments on the NPRM are due March 18 and can be submitted through this comment portal.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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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 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: 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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