Legislative Update: New COVID-19 Stimulus Framework and Appropriations Committee Chair

This week, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a new COVID-19 (coronavirus) stimulus framework. Read below to learn more about this proposal, as well as committee leadership changes in the House, the revamped College Scorecard, a formal request for information on work-based learning programs for youth and the significance of having an educator in the White House. 

Senate Announces Coronavirus Relief Bill

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Senators announced a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus framework. This is significantly lower than what has been proposed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress so far, and the intention is to provide short-term and immediate pandemic relief. The bill includes $82 billion for K-12 and higher education, though the breakdown between funding levels for K-12 and postsecondary education is not clear. The proposal also includes $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments, as well as $10 billion for broadband. If this bill were to pass, it would operate retroactively to December 1, 2020 and extend through March 31, 2021.   

House Elects New Appropriations Chair

Today, following the retirement of House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY), Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was voted to be the new committee chair. DeLauro’s win came after her endorsement by the Democratic House Steering and Policy Committee earlier this week. Currently, DeLauro serves as the Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee so she is well versed in Career Technical Education (CTE), education and workforce funding.   

ED Expands College Scorecard 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the revamped College Scorecard to further improve an individual’s ability to navigate data and make informed decisions about higher education. The College Scorecard now includes median income data two years post-graduation. Earnings data will continue to be added each year moving forward to provide both short and long-term outcomes information. Additionally, Parent PLUS Loans are now included in this resource. In the short term, the College Scorecard will continue to be updated to include federal loan repayment data in an effort to demonstrate how former federal student loan borrowers from a specific program within an institution were able to meet repayment obligations. 

ED Requests Information on Expanding Work-Based Learning for Youth

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) announced a new Request for Information on Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Youth. OCTAE is “interested in learning about successful approaches to expanding work-based learning opportunities for youth from States, Tribes, state and local educational agencies, community-based and other nonprofit organizations, employers, industry associations, philanthropic organizations, faith-based organizations, researchers, and other interested individuals and entities.” This stakeholder input will inform ED’s implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and coordination on federally supported youth employment initiatives with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) partners. 

The full notice in the Federal Register asks specific questions on successful practices and strategies, public and private partnerships, outcomes data and evaluation design, student barriers and employer barriers. Submissions are due by January 13, 2021. 

New Administration Includes Educators 

As we prepare for the transition of the new presidential administration and session of Congress, it is significant to note that the incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, is a career educator and education advocate. Dr. Biden teaches writing and English at Northern Virginia Community College, and plans to continue in this role following President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Dr. Biden plans to use her platform to speak about education issues such as tuition-free community college, broadband and technology access and food insecurity. 

You can read about Advance CTE’s priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

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