Posts Tagged ‘House Appropriations Committee’

House Lays Out Next Steps for FY25 | Legislative Update

Friday, May 24th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House laid out next steps for the the federal appropriations process while Congressional leaders elsewhere made announcements related to artificial intelligence (AI) and workforce development. Elsewhere, lawmakers are considering a new Farm Bill proposal while a new cohort of Presidential Scholars was recently announced. 

House Lays Out Roadmap for FY25 Appropriations

House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) announced in recent weeks preliminary allocation totals for each of the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget for the upcoming 2025 federal fiscal year (FY25). Known as 302(b) allocations, these topline funding totals are used by appropriations leaders on the committee to craft FY25 funding legislation later this year. This includes the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill which provides support for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) among other education and workforce development programs. The proposed 302(b) allocation for the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill is significantly lower than the total provided for this component of the federal budget in FY24. This means that the House Appropriations Committee is likely to propose significant cuts to domestic programs falling under this legislation as the Committee put forward last year.

In addition, Chair Cole released a tentative schedule to consider each of the dozen appropriations bills. The Labor-HHS-ED measure is expected to be considered at the subcommittee level on June 27 and by the full Appropriations Committee on July 10. This week the full House Appropriations Committee approved these 302(b) allocations on a party line vote 32-21. Similar announcements are still forthcoming in the Senate. As these efforts take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the significant funding needs of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community and other key education and workforce priorities this year.  

Senate Releases New AI Roadmap

A bipartisan group of Senators led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Senator Todd Young (R-IN), released a long-anticipated report regarding AI. The report or “roadmap” lays out a vision for future federal policymaking efforts, including a set of recommendations for Congress and the Biden administration to consider as AI technologies continue to mature and expand in their use. The report covers several policy areas including workforce development, encouraging the development of career pathways that lead to opportunities in AI. The roadmap also recommends that policymakers consider new regulatory frameworks to mitigate the potential negative impacts AI technologies may have on incumbent workers and ways to promote worker skills training opportunities in this area. Broadly, the report calls on the federal government to invest at least $32 billion on an annual basis to support the further development of AI technologies, promote wider innovation, and ensure wider equitable adoption and use of these emerging technologies.

View the AI Roadmap

Department of Commerce Unveils Workforce Policy Agenda

Recently the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced a Department Administrative Order (DAO) that establishes a workforce policy agenda for the agency. The agenda is intended to assist DOC in the ongoing implementation of several broad federal investments including the CHIPS and Science Act which contains several workforce development components to support the legislation’s broader aims of developing a more robust advanced manufacturing and semiconductor capacity here in the United States. The DAO lays out a set of principles to guide workforce development investments as well as wider Biden administration goals of developing quality employment opportunities for a broader cross-section of Americans.

Read the DAO

House Examines HHS FY25 Budget

Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The hearing featured testimony from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra who spoke to the Biden administration’s recent federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request. Secretary Becerra responded to a wide range of questions including the importance of policies and investments supporting access to quality childcare as well as wider healthcare workforce needs.

View an archived webcast of the hearing, including the Secretary’s written testimony and related opening statements from lawmakers

CTE Presidential Scholars Announced

This week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars announced the 60th cohort of U.S. Presidential Scholars—an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, career and technical and artistic achievements. The selection process takes into consideration a number of criteria including transcripts and test scores. Each year, this program features 20 CTE scholars for their outstanding achievements and recognizes related accomplishments.

View the full list of scholars 

House Agriculture Committee Plans Vote on Federal Nutrition Programs

The House Agriculture Committee considered the 2024 Farm Bill this week, a $1.5 trillion legislative package that includes significant changes to federal agriculture and school nutrition programs. The legislation, unveiled by Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) earlier this week, includes major components of the Creating Access to Rural Employment and Education for Resilience and Success (CAREERS) Act (H.R. 7015)—legislation that Advance CTE supported and endorsed earlier this year. Advance CTE has expressed support for the inclusion of the CAREERS Act among other aspects of the proposal. The committee considered the legislation yesterday and approved measure by a margin of 33-21. 

DOL Unveils New AI and Worker Well-Being Principles

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a set of principles on AI and worker well-being. The principles were developed in response to an earlier Executive Order (EO) from President Biden on AI last year and are intended to support workforce development professionals and employers in the deployment, development, and subsequent use of AI and related technologies. The principles focus particularly on mitigating potential negative impacts on workers of AI while balancing the need for innovation and economic growth.

Read the principles 

Steve Voytek, policy advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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House Passes WIOA Bill as ED Promotes FY25 Budget | Legislative Update

Friday, April 12th, 2024

This week lawmakers reconvened following a spring recess period to address a number of pressing issues. In addition, lawmakers in the House advanced legislation to reauthorize federal workforce development legislation while the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before lawmakers regarding the Biden administration’s most recent budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY25 Budget Request

This week the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-ED)—the entity responsible for determining funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other critical education and workforce development legislation—held a hearing to examine the Biden administration’s federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

The hearing featured testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who focused his remarks on the broad aims of ED’s FY25 budget request. Lawmakers discussed a broad array of topics at the hearing, including forthcoming Title IX regulations that are expected to be released by ED later this year and ongoing efforts to enforce civil rights protections for students. Lawmakers discussed other elements of the FY25 ED budget, including proposed increases in funding for newly proposed programs contained in the budget request. An archived webcast of the hearing, including testimony, can be accessed here

House Republicans Elect Rep. Cole to Lead Appropriations Committee

Current House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) announced last month that she planned to step down from this leadership role. Since then, longtime House Appropriations leader Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) was heavily favored to succeed Granger in this critical post. This week, the House Republican Steering Committee met and recommended Cole for this role and the full House Republican conference voted to ratify him as chairman. The move is expected to likely shift additional appropriations leaders on the committee in the future. In addition, Cole has stepped down as Chair of the House Rules Committee, with Rep. Burgess (R-TX) set to succeed him on this important committee. 

House Passes WIOA Reauthorization Proposal

Earlier this week lawmakers in the House formally considered H.R. 6655—legislation that would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Advance CTE and partners provided feedback on this proposal but did not endorse the legislation when it was passed by the House Education and Workforce Committee late last year. Lawmakers considered the legislation under suspension of the rules, meaning there was limited time for debate or wider efforts to dramatically change the legislation following its advancement last December. House lawmakers ultimately passed the legislation on a wide bipartisan margin, 378-26 

Despite the passage of this legislation, the future for H.R. 6655 remains uncertain. Senate leaders on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, including Chair Sanders (D-VT) and Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA), are currently working to negotiate a separate legislative proposal to reauthorize WIOA potentially later this spring. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for the organization’s WIOA recommendations to improve future federal workforce development legislation as it continues through the wider legislative process. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Congress Remains on Recess After Finalizing FY24 | Legislative Update

Friday, April 5th, 2024

This week lawmakers remained on spring recess and are expected to return next week for a busy two-week work period. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a delay in anticipated postsecondary regulations impacting career education programs. 

Lawmakers Include Focus on Appropriations and WIOA in Next Work Period 

Congress is on recess this week, but legislators are scheduled to return to Washington, D.C. for a two-week work period on April 8. Broadly, Advance CTE expects Congress to focus its efforts this month on the recent bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland and an international aid package. In addition, lawmakers in the House are expected to consider H.R. 6655—legislation that would reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As a reminder, leaders on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee are continuing to separately negotiate their own version of WIOA reauthorization with a current target date for action around Memorial Day later this year. 

As wider Senate and House floor discussions evolve, the Appropriations committees are beginning to formally start the federal fiscal year 2025 (FY25) appropriations process. This normally entails bringing the leaders of federal agencies to Capitol Hill to testify regarding their Department’s annual budget requests. Advance CTE expects an initial appropriations hearing in the House to take place sometime next week and will be monitoring these efforts closely as the organization works to strengthen the federal investment in Career Technical Education (CTE) via the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program. 

However, these efforts may be delayed somewhat as the Republican Steering Committee is expected to meet early next week to discuss who will lead the House Appropriations Committee, following an announcement late last month from current Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) that she would step down from this role. At present, longtime appropriations leader Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) appears to be heavily favored to be recommended for this leadership position following public support from several other House Republican appropriations leaders. However, Rep. Aderholt (R-AL), currently the chair of the appropriations subcommittee responsible for workforce funding, has circulated a Dear Colleague letter indicating that he is seeking broader changes to the appropriations process. “Instead of hastily selecting a new Appropriations chair, I believe that now is the time to focus on correcting the process and developing our theory of government on how we will manage our responsibilities,” he wrote in part.

As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE will be engaging with both the WIOA reauthorization and appropriations processes closely during this upcoming work period. 

Gainful Employment Regulations Delayed

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter delaying the implementation of reporting requirements for forthcoming Gainful Employment (GE) and Financial Value Transparency (FVT) regulations. While most of the new rules for GE and FVT will go into effect July 1 of this year, postsecondary institutions and covered programs will now have until October 1 of this year to begin reporting the necessary data to ED to begin implementation of these new regulatory frameworks. As a reminder, GE rules apply to certain postsecondary career education programs and determine their eligibility for federal student financial aid from Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) based on programs’ ability to meet certain performance standards related to graduates’ earnings and ability to pay back student loans.

While GE rules apply to only a subset of postsecondary institutions and programs and include related sanctions in the form of losing Title IV eligibility, new FVT rules will apply to a much broader segment of the higher education sector without related penalties for low-performance. Advance CTE examined these rules in more detail last year when a final rule was published by ED. 

This delay comes after a bipartisan group of Senators sent a letter to ED encouraging a delay of these new rules as ED continues to struggle with the implementation of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. In addition to the delay in reporting requirements, ED has also indicated that it will be issuing additional guidance for GE and FVT implementation sometime this month. More information on these announcements can be found here and here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Lawmakers Celebrate CTE Month, Progress on FY24 Remains Uncertain | Legislative Update

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Over the last two weeks, lawmakers in the House and Senate have continued to formally recognize the importance of Career Technical Education (CTE) and celebrated February as CTE Month® in a number of ways. Elsewhere, appropriations leaders continue to work on federal funding measures, Advance CTE endorsed several new pieces of legislation and federal agencies released new equity plans. 

New Challenges Emerge in FY24 Funding Process

The Senate remained in session last weekend to pass a highly anticipated supplemental national security aid package. Following that action, the Senate adjourned and is not expected to return to Capitol Hill until February 26. Meanwhile, the House met for an abbreviated work period this week where Republican lawmakers impeached Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. This action in the House will trigger a trial in the Senate when lawmakers return later this month. Due to Senate rules that require addressing this issue upon their return, this upcoming trial may impact ongoing negotiations, largely occurring behind the scenes, on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) spending, including the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations measure that funds the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other programs administered and overseen by the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL).

At this time, it remains unclear how lawmakers will ultimately move forward with FY24 appropriations legislation beyond the upcoming expiration dates of current funding rapidly approaching on March 1 and March 8. Reportedly, appropriations leaders are currently negotiating potential “policy riders” that some lawmakers are seeking to attach to these funding measures, including Labor-HHS-ED. House lawmakers are currently scheduled to return after a recess period on February 28, leaving only a few days to determine a pathway forward. As these efforts continue to take shape, Advance CTE is continuing to advocate for robust funding for Perkins V’s formula grant program.

CTE Month Continues With Co-Chair Appearances and a New Senate Resolution

Yesterday, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) made an appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program to talk about the importance of CTE and the role it plays in the wider economy. The two leaders fielded questions from viewers and spoke at length about their experiences with CTE, the importance of the federal investment made by Perkins V and highlighted the immense value CTE programs provide to learners, especially by providing multiple pathways to postsecondary education, training and careers. These lawmakers also introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act, bipartisan legislation that would strengthen career counseling services available to K-12 students. Advance CTE was proud to endorse this legislation upon introduction. In addition, House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) provided floor remarks celebrating CTE month and emphasizing the important role CTE programs have in providing learners with valuable and durable skills. 

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate CTE Caucus co-chair Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced and passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing February as CTE month within the chamber. “This month and every month, let’s work to expand access to CTE, including by passing my JOBS Act to allow students to use Pell Grants for job training programs, and build an economy that works for everyone,” Senator Kaine remarked upon its passage. 

Advance CTE applauds all of these lawmakers for their ongoing leadership on this issue and extends our community’s deep appreciation for continuing to elevate and highlight the significant importance of CTE this month and throughout the year.

Bipartisan Childcare CTE Bill Introduced

Earlier this week, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Bonamici introduced the Early Childhood Workforce Advance Act. The legislation would provide new resources for CTE programs and aims to address significant workforce shortages in this critical sector of the economy. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act intentionally leverages CTE programs and ensures that these efforts are connected to ongoing state and local efforts to strengthen early educator workforce pipelines,” Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kate Kreamer shared upon the bill’s introduction. More information on the proposal can be found here.

ED Publishes Updated Equity Action Plan

At the beginning of the week, ED formally released its 2023 update to the Department’s existing “Equity Action Plan,” outlining new commitments to advance equity in education. ED identified five key focus areas: improving college access and completion rates for underserved students; ensuring equitable resources for learning recovery; expanding educational opportunities for justice-impacted individuals to improve outcomes; advancing equity in career and technical education; and increasing mental health resources in underserved communities. In the plan, ED notes that it hopes to improve data transparency with regards to Perkins V data, host a future webinar series on equity in CTE and propose broadened equity indicators as part of its priorities for potential legislative updates to Perkins V in the years ahead. Read the full plan here.

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 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: Consensus on FY24 Remains Elusive as Artificial Intelligence Comes into Focus

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

This week, Congress has continued to make modest progress on appropriations legislation for the federal government while lawmakers and President Biden have begun to consider how to manage the coming use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. 

Congress No Closer to Agreement on Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Education Spending

With new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) in place and another possible government shutdown only two weeks away, a new sense of urgency has swept Capitol Hill as lawmakers worked to pass several appropriations measures in both chambers this week. In the House, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations bill — legislation that provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and other important Career Technical Education (CTE) related investments—has been moved directly to the House floor for consideration and a vote is scheduled sometime the week of November 13. As a reminder, if enacted, this proposal would reduce funding for Title I of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) by 80 percent and would substantially cut funding or entirely eliminate many other education and workforce development programs like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

The Senate has not yet scheduled further consideration of its own version of this legislation which most recently advanced out of the Appropriations Committee and is awaiting consideration by the upper chamber. Unlike the House version of this legislation, which would freeze current funding for Perkins V’s basic state grant program, the Senate’s proposal would provide a much-needed $43 million increase in support for the primary federal investment in CTE. 

Under the new leadership of Speaker Johnson, the House has continued to pass other spending proposals that would drastically cut federal funding for a variety of programs, falling well below the topline spending targets outlined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) — a bipartisan agreement that was passed by Congress earlier this year which avoided a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt obligations. At the same time, the Senate has continued to advance spending proposals that conform to the FRA agreement. With both chambers proposing wildly different visions for FY24 funding, it remains unclear how lawmakers will move forward by the middle of this month. Unless agreement can be reached by the beginning of 2024, an across-the-board sequester cut to all federal programs, mandated by the FRA, will come into effect. As these efforts continue to unfold, Advance CTE is continuing to work with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the wider CTE education community are met as part of this process. 

Biden Administration Unveils Artificial Intelligence Executive Order

On Monday, October 30, President Biden issued a wide-ranging Executive Order regarding the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence” (AI). The measure has several components of note for the CTE community including how to support workers displaced by AI, strategies for attracting and retaining AI talent and directing federal agencies to explore how to strengthen or expand pathways programs leading into AI or adjacent occupational fields. The Executive Order also directs the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to develop resources, policies, and guidance on AI in education within one year and similarly directs the Departments of Labor, Commerce and others to produce similar recommendations on legislative and regulatory actions that can better support workers and learners navigate a world changed by the implementation of AI and related technologies. Learn more about these efforts in this factsheet.

Senate Examines AI’s Impact on the Workforce

Earlier this week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ Subcommittee on Employment and Workforce Safety held a hearing titled, “AI and the Future of Work: Moving Forward Together.” The hearing featured testimony from witnesses representing the private sector and explored the potential impacts that AI will likely have on work as well as potential strategies to mitigate negative effects. A key theme of the hearing centered on the growing importance of lifelong learning, including the need to reform ways that the federal government supports learners pursuing postsecondary education. To that end, Senator Kaine (D-VA) highlighted the importance of Congress passing the JOBS Act – legislation that would expand Pell Grant eligibility for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. 

ED Distributes New Funding for Educator Diversity and Compensation Efforts

Late last week, the U.S. ED announced that it was awarding $115 million in new funding via the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program — an initiative authorized by ESSA. These funds will support nearly 30 projects that aim to address teacher shortages while also increasing instructional staff diversity. This investment “… will help states and school districts recruit and retain new talent, increase compensation, and address educator shortages that we know disproportionately impact students from our communities of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities and English learners,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, as part of the announcement

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Set to Return Next Week to a Busy Agenda

Friday, April 14th, 2023

Over the last two weeks both chambers of Congress have remained on spring recess and are expected to return next week. Meanwhile, leaders in the Senate are seeking input regarding the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) while the Biden Administration announces new grant opportunities and regulatory proposals. 

Secretary Cardona Set to Testify Next Week

The House and the Senate are expected to return next week following a two-week recess. When lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, they will likely turn their attention to the fiscal year (FY24) budget and appropriations process among several other priority areas, including the need to raise the nation’s borrowing authority.

As part of this process, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Committee next Tuesday, April 18. The hearing will focus on the Biden Administration’s recent FY24 budget request to Congress and will provide an opportunity for committee members to examine the proposals contained in the request. This hearing will be the first of several committee discussions on this topic expected to take place over the coming weeks and months as Congress deliberates about the FY24 budget.  

ED Seeks Peer Reviewers

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently published a request for peer reviewers for a slew of upcoming competitive grant programs administered by the agency. These efforts include upcoming grant competitions authorized by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V) Innovation and Modernization (I&M) grant program– a competitive grant initiative overseen by ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).  Peer reviewers serve a critical function of objectively reviewing grant applications for various discretionary grants that ED oversees each year, including these forthcoming I&M grants. Those interested in applying to serve as a peer reviewer can do so here.

First Lady Highlights Career Pathway Efforts in Vermont

Last week, First Lady Jill Biden visited an electric aerospace company based in Vermont to highlight the company’s ongoing work in the clean energy sector and its efforts to provide career pathways for local students. The First Lady was joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Vermont Governor Phil Scott, and other federal, state, and local officials. In particular the visit highlighted North Country Career Center, an area technical center serving K-12 students and adult learners in the area, and provides a number of Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways to growing, in-demand sectors of the state’s economy. “What you are doing in this community is the future of our workforce and how we grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. These aren’t red ideas or blue ideas. They’re American ideas,” said Biden during the visit. Additional coverage can be found here.

DOL Announces $80 Million in New Grant Funding for Infrastructure Jobs 

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced $80 million in new funding for the Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grant program– an initiative intended to support recent Congressional investments in the nation’s infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy sectors. Postsecondary institutions, state and local governments, and other related stakeholders are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $500,000 to $5 million to develop career pathways programs that lead to jobs in these critical sectors of the American economy. More information regarding the funding opportunity announcement can be found here

Senate HELP Committee Seeks Input on ESRA

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) recently issued a request for information (RFI) regarding the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), Educational Technical Assistance Act, and the National Assessment of Education Progress Authorization Act. In particular, the HELP Committee is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on a range of issues that should be addressed in a potential reauthorization of these laws. Among other aspects, these pieces of legislation authorize a wide range of education-related research, technical assistance, and statistical collections. Feedback in response to this request is due by close of business on April 19. A letter outlining a series of questions related to the RFI can be found here

ED Proposes New Title IX Rule

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) proposed a new rule regarding student athletic eligibility under Title IX—a longstanding federal civil rights law that is intended to prevent sex-based discrimination. The proposal specifically seeks to address the issue of transgender athletes’ eligibility to play on sports teams in accordance with their gender identity. The proposed rule would prevent schools and institutions from adopting or implementing policies that broadly ban transgender students from athletics participation but leaves additional flexibility for schools and institutions to make further determinations based on their unique circumstances. The proposal comes as House Republicans continue to advance legislation (H.R. 734) that would broadly restrict transgender students from participating in school sports. The full proposed rule can be found here and will be open for public comment for 30 days.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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