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A Spotlight on TQP Applications, Mask Mandates, Free Speech, and the Teacher Shortage

A second-grade teacher helps a student with a writing assignment in a hybrid classroom.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.   

So much around the world has changed since our last Washington Update. While Congress was on recess all eyes were on the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. We suspect Congress will respond to the President’s request and put forth a supplemental funding package that includes critical assistance for the Ukraine and additional support for addressing future variants of COVID-9. We also anticipate an FY 2022 omnibus appropriations package that has a significant increase for both defense and non-defense programs, including education, will pass sometime next week.

What’s New with Federal Funding, Student Loans and Education Grants?

Student Loan GraphicAs we head into Congressional recess, behind the scenes things are heating up surrounding the passage of an FY22 appropriations bill which includes historic increases for education funding. The Senate passed a stop-gap funding measure on Thursday that, once signed by the President will give Members and their staff another three weeks to cement a deal on FY22. The proposed increases to education funding are critical in supporting rebuilding and diversifying the educator pipeline-now is the time to make sure your voices are heard. 

Congressional Leaders Reach Agreement on Funding Levels

Urge Your Members of Congress to Maintain the Historic Education Funding Levels

Funding and development concept as a human hand giving or taking investment from a business pie chart made of mechanical gears and cog wheels as a financial backing symbol of investing support or charity donation to help a struggling company or person.Congress is one step closer to passing an FY22 appropriations bill which includes historic increases for education funding. Now is the time to urge your Members of Congress to maintain the proposed levels in the House passed education funding bill in the final appropriations package. Voices from the field are imperative to garnering the momentum to get this historic legislation across the finish line.

The House Passes a Short-Term Spending Patch and Congressional Leadership Reaches Agreement on Funding Levels

This week Congress made significant strides towards passing an FY22 appropriations bill that will fund the government through the fall. On Tuesday evening the House voted 272-162 to pass a stopgap funding stopgap funding bill that will keep the government running when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on February 18.  The Senate is expected to take up the measure that will keep the government funded through March 11 in the coming week.

Washington Update: A Focus on Children with Disabilities

Portrait of cute girl sitting in wheelchair against close up of a bookshelfThis weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.   

While it feels like there has been sand in the gears surrounding movement on FY22 appropriations and the Build Back Better Act- Congress may be on a path to more forward movement in the coming weeks. We expect there could be movement in the House next week to address the Continuing Resolution (CR) which expires on February 18th. Now is the time for advocates to be at the table expressing the critical need for the proposed historic investments in education funding. 

Addressing Teacher Shortages, Civil Rights, and Loan Servicing

A horizontal image of an empty primary school classroom. Teacher shortage conceptIt was another busy week in Washington as lawmakers prepared for the congressional recess  the following week. Conversations are heating up behind the scenes surrounding FY22 appropriations and a new iteration of the Build Back Better Act. Advocacy work will be critical in the coming weeks to ensure the historic proposals for education funding are included in both pieces of legislation.

Department of Education Reviews Higher Education Regulations

Graduation Cap on top of U.S. CurrencyThis weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.  

The Senate adjourned for the long weekend on Thursday and postponed next week’s scheduled recess to the week of January 24th. The chamber will return on Tuesday to continue debate on voting and election legislation. Behind the scenes, conversations surrounding FY22 appropriations are garnering more traction than they have in recent months. We expect the next month to be especially busy as we inch closer to the February 18th deadline for either passing FY22 appropriations or extending the Continuing Resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown.

Congress 2022: An Early Look

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.  

Capitol hill building in the morning with colorful cloud , Washington DC.As we begin the new year with hope for brighter days ahead, the congressional outlook has remained much the same as last year. This week the House is not in session, but the Senate is. Several members faced delays making their way back to Capitol Hill after the holiday break in the midst of the first D.C. snowstorm of the new year. The travel delays, coupled with the memorializing of former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and marking the anniversary of January 6 filled much of the week on the Hill.

As Congress Heads Home, Unfinished Business Remains

This 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.  

Build Back Better

Congress Looks to Head Home for the Holidays Leaving Unfinished Business for Next Year 

With the temporary fix to fund the government completed (until February 18) and the debt ceiling extension completed, the one big item left on the agenda for this week for Congress was passing President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.  With the House already having passed the bill, the ball was in the Senate court where Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) had promised a vote before the holidays.  That promise evaporated this week as it became clear that it would be impossible to corral all Senate Democrats to vote yes—a requirement for passage. Even after multiple conversations with President Biden and other Senators, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was unwilling to offer his support for the $1.7 trillion bill.  So reluctantly, Senators turned their attention to other matters, such as confirming Biden nominations and considering strategies for securing support for voting rights reform.

Congress on the Move as the Clock Winds Down

US Capitol with colored sky in backgroundThis 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.  

Congress Checks Another Item Off The “Must-Do” List

Last week lawmakers in Congress rallied to unite behind a deal that keeps the government funded at its current levels through February 18 __a Continuing Resolution (CR).This is the first in a series of “must-do” tasks before the New Year. The temporary patch keeps the government open, but it could result in federal agencies delaying grant competitions and disbursement of funds.

Congress Avoids Government Shutdown as New Challenges Loom

This 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. 

USA open and end of shutdown and United States government opened for business and american federal employees back to work due to spending bill agreement the left and the right with 3D illustration style.It’s the end-of-year countdown season for Congress and a lot is at stake!

Congress Races to the Finish Line 

On this past Thursday, just 36 hours before government funding was set to lapse, lawmakers rallied to unite behind a deal that will keep the government funded at its current levels through February 18. The House voted 221-212 to approve the measure. The Senate then passed the 11-week stopgap spending bill in a 69-28 vote—sending the measure to the President’s desk. The legislation, referred to as a continuing resolution (CR), will prevent a government shutdown while keeping the government funded at levels set nearly one year ago by former President Trump.

House Passes Build Back Better Act, All Eyes on Senate

Unites States CapitolThis 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. 

Democrats in Congress are taking a victory lap as they leave town for a weeklong Thanksgiving recess next week. With House passage of the Build Back Better Act, the Biden agenda is one step closer to enactment. But the Senate will have the final say. 

House Passes Build Back Better Bill – At Last 

After weeks of fraught negotiations, and multiple postponed votes, the House finally passed the Build Back Better Act (the reconciliation bill) this morning.  One Democrat (Rep. Jared Golden of Maine) sided with all Republicans opposing the bill. This left the Democrats with the slim margin they needed to cross the finish line.

Congress Faces End of the Year Frenzy

US Capitol with colored sky in background

This 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. 

While Congress has been out of session this week for a Veteran’s Day recess, the action behind the scenes continues to be dominated by the prospects of finalizing the reconciliation bill, or the Build Back Better plan.  Educators are eager to see this make it over the finish line, as it includes important investments for education, including $610 million for the educator pipeline. 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Heads to President Biden for Signature

Last Friday, all eyes were on the House of Representatives where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was working overtime to schedule a vote on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill (which had already passed the Senate) and the partisan reconciliation bill (which has passed neither body but is being intensely negotiated behind the scenes). Pelosi could afford to lose only three Democratic votes and still pass the bills.

Will Democrats Pass Long-Awaited Reconciliation Plan with Education Funding Boosts?

Young people and education. Group of students in class at school during lesson. Focus on girl listening to teacher

This 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. 

Educators watched closely as local elections around the country provided hints for what may be coming in next year’s Congressional midterms and even the 2024 presidential race. With the victory of Republican Glenn Youngkin for Virginia’s next governor, the spotlight was on education issues—particularly parental voice in local education decisions. Issues like Critical Race Theory (which is not taught in Virginia public schools but used as a proxy for teaching about race), vaccination mandates and school closures, and the rights of transgender students took center stage.

Education Funding Bills on the Move

School financing and education business concept as a group of children drawing a hopscotch game on a floor with dollar signs as a symbol of student loans and paying for schooling fees.This 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. 

As you will recall, in July the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill . The bill included historic increases for education from the FY 2021 level—a 41% increase for the Department of Education, which would bring the Department’s total budget to $102.8 billion. This week, a bit unexpectedly, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released drafts of the nine remaining fiscal year (FY) 2022 Senate appropriations bills, including the Labor-HHS-Education bill. This is an unusual move, as we usually don’t see bills until they have gone through the Subcommittee markup. These drafts have not been approved by either Subcommittees or the full committee. Rather, they are intended to be a marker to keep the process rolling.

Congress Averts Debt Crisis for Now, New Resources for Educators

america usa united states economy financial monetary positive

This 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. 

Congress has been working hard this week, even though they are out of session. Negotiations on the reconciliation bill continue intensely behind the scenes, and next week promises to be action packed when they return.  

Default Averted: President Biden Signs into Law Short-Term Measure to Raise the Debt Ceiling

On Thursday, President Biden signed into a law a bill to raise the debt ceiling, averting a default on the nation’s financial obligations through at least December 3.  The House interrupted their scheduled recess and voted on the Senate passed measure earlier in the day. As you recall, last week the Senate passed the short-term debt ceiling extension with  a party line 50-48 vote–though 11 Republicans ultimately joined with Democrats to get the required 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster.

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