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Congress Comes Back to Town: Faces Unfinished Business

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

 Money, Money Money … Follow the Money … to a Shutdown?

Congress does not officially reconvene until Monday, September 9.  They return to the challenge of funding the government before the end of the Fiscal year, September 30.  This means that in 13 legislative days the Senate would have to pass 12 separate funding bills, conference each one with the House and then secure President Trump’s signature on each one. What are the odds of that happening?  Well, I’m not really a betting person, but I’d say “zero.”

The House left town in August having passed its funding bills, including a very generous one forLabor/HHS/Education. Educators were elated with the prospects of the funding levels in that bill. Unfortunately, the allocations—called 302(b)’s—for each of the 12 funding bills in the Senate are quite a bit less than they were in the House.  So the Senate has less money to work with, particularly in the bill that funds education. Unfortunately, it looks like that House Labor/HHS/Education funding bill will serve as the high-water mark for education. 

The Senate will begin its work on the 12 bills next week, with both the Labor/HHS/Education and Defense bills planned for markups in subcommittees on Tuesday, September 10, but after that,  in all likelihood, Congress will pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running at current levels of funding.  In fact, the House has announced that it will take up a bill the week of September 16 to pass a CR that will keep the government open beyond September 30.  The bill will not include any funding for President Trump’s border wall, so whether the Senate will pass it and whether the President will sign it are open questions. A government shutdown remains a possibility. 

September on Capitol Hill

Multiple hearings and markups will be held related to education during the 13 legislative days of September. All of these activities can be watched online by visiting the website of the Committee listed below.  These include the following:

Learn more about the hearings and events. Continue reading the full Washington Update on my website for more information.

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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant