In the late evening of March 21, the text of the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus was released. Coming in at 2,232 pages, the bill includes items well beyond funding of the federal government’s discretionary programs, at a total cost of $1.3 trillion to fund the government through September 30, 2018.
The U.S. Senate passed the measure in the first hour of March 23, sending the package to President Trump for his signature; later that same morning, the president tweeted out a veto threat. With members of Congress headed home or attending the funeral of a colleague, if the president vetoes the measure, the government will shut down.
On February 12, President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget request to fund the federal government. Similar to the previous request, this plan cuts 29 education programs while carving out space and funds for new programs focusing on choice opportunities.
In a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos lauded the request for “expanding education freedom for America’s families while protecting vulnerable students.”
- Providing better choices for more families to attend a high-quality school.
- Supporting high-quality special education services to children with disabilities.
- Creating new and alternative pathways to successful careers for students.
- Promoting innovation and reform around STEM education.
- Implementing school-based opioid abuse prevention strategies.
- Making the Department more efficient while limiting the Federal role in education.
Despite all the action in Washington, DC, this month, AACTE will not be offering a February Federal Update webinar – instead, please catch it live at the AACTE 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
In fact, I am thrilled that this year you have two opportunities to catch my Washington Update: Thursday, March 1, 3:45–4:45 p.m., and Saturday, March 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
As you plan your session schedule for the AACTE Annual Meeting, don’t neglect your advocacy skill development! Please join me Friday, March 2, at 2:00 p.m. for “Putting Advocacy to Work.”
In this speed-dating-style session, I will run the clock while you circulate through your choice of introductory mini-sessions led by experts and professionals. There will be four time slots during this hour-long opportunity, each beginning with a few minutes of commentary by the leaders, and then opening for questions and discussion. Move from table to table to learn how to start off:
On Friday, December 15, members of the U.S. Congress unveiled a conference report on tax reform, resolving differences between the House and Senate bills.
Full text of the conference report, which is nearly 1,100 pages long, can be found here. For those who want to go into the weeds, a joint explanatory statement, which describes current law, the House and Senate provisions, and what is in the conference agreement, can be found here.
On the same day that Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released her Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Trump Administration released a set of principles for HEA reauthorization.
The White House document (see PDF here) reveals five broad goals and eight policy principles for consideration as the reauthorization process begins in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Education and the Workforce committee is expected to move the bill forward starting the week of December 4. On the U.S. Senate side, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has stated that HEA reauthorization will be a priority for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee next year.
On December 1, the Republicans of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce released their bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity though Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” would change or repeal aspects of the current law.
While we are still analyzing the bill, here are few key provisions that would affect educator preparation:
Today the National Education Association (NEA) released an analysis of the U.S. House tax reform bill, H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” to project the impact on PK-12 education of the elimination of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction for individuals (the tax plan permits corporations to keep this deduction).
In a press release, the NEA highlighted the potential effect of this single elimination: “The impact of eliminating SALT on public education is nearly equal to the education jobs lost during the Great Recession. By most accounts, the country lost about 300,000 education jobs during that time.”
Last week Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means introduced a tax reform bill, H.R. 1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and scheduled the markup to start November 6 and continue until the work is completed. This process was initiated via reconciliation through the Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution.
Prior to the markup beginning, Brady offered a manager’s amendment making changes to the original bill, and the markup (watch it live and view additional resources here) allows committee members to offer amendments.
As Congress returned from August recess, its agenda included a laundry list of items, and it is shaping up to be a very busy fall on Capitol Hill. Budget and appropriations, hurricane relief, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Higher Education Act reauthorization, and tax reform are just some of the issues that will fill the congressional calendar. For many of these topics, the voice of the education profession will be an important perspective for your members of Congress to hear.
Follow these three steps to ensure your constituent voice is heard: