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Congress Postpones Funding Showdown, Heads to Thanksgiving Recess

Colorful waving national flag of united states of america on a american dollar money background. finance conceptThis blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Last Thursday, Congress postponed the showdown over government funding until Dec. 20 and hit the road for Thanksgiving. They are planning some fancy footwork upon return as the impeachment process steams forward and a government shutdown remains a possibility.

Showdown over Government Funding Postponed until Dec. 20

Once again, the Congress has punted on funding the government. December 20 is the new deadline for determining overall spending levels for each of the 12 funding bills and completing them. Funding for education hangs in the balance with the House passed bill including a $5 billion increase, but no such increase in the Senate bill. The budget agreement adopted earlier in the year provides for an increase of about $100 billion for defense and domestic spending for this fiscal year. If Congress cannot agree on new funding levels, this new infusion of funds will be left on the drawing table.

This weekend, a breakthrough of sorts was reported when it appeared that Republicans and Democrats came to agreement on the spending levels for each of the 12 bills. Those levels have not and will not be made public until and unless the actual funding bills move forward. With only 3 weeks left for business before the Christmas holiday begins, movement of those bills would need to be rapid fire. Many speculate that this will not occur as the impeachment process appears poised to move to the Senate for a trial and there are some who would prefer an ongoing continuing resolution, as that would foreclose the opportunity for increases in spending. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) noted that “Freezing spending would be better than increasing spending. With a Democratic House consumed with impeachment, there is very little appetite for the sorts of common-sense fiscal policies that could rein in our out-of-control deficits and debt.” 

Learn more.

Colleges Will Now Track Debt Load and Job Wages of Education Majors and Others

Last week, Sec. Betsy DeVos announced a new college scorecard, which would include program level data about student debt load and earnings by field of study. This updated scorecard adds data on 2,100 institutions that offer only certificates to the existing 3,700 degree-granting institutions, which have been tracked since 2015. How useful these data will be and what purpose they will be used for remains to be seen. 

Over 600 Comments on Proposal to Change Civil Rights Data Collection

Last week the comment period for the Department of Education’s proposed changes to the Civil Rights data Collection closed, having generated over 600 comments. While many education and civil rights organizations—as well as Democratic members of Congress—objected to the changes, some organizations supported them and others raised concerns about the cost and time burden of data collection. Learn more.  

New Resources for Educators

Continue reading the full Washington Update on my website for more information. Follow me on Twitter @janewestdc.

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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant