Congressional Education and Spending Committees Taking Shape
Nearly three weeks into the First Session of the 116th Congress, the membership of the House Education & Labor Committee is finally coming into clearer relief. Earlier this week, Democratic Leaders announced that the following new members will serve on the House Education and Labor Committee: Rep. Josh Harder (CA), Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA), Rep. Susie Lee (NV), Rep. Andy Levin (MI), Rep. Lucy McBath (GA), Rep Joe Morelle (NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN), Rep. Kim Schrier (WA), Rep. Donna Shalala (FL), Rep. Haley Stevens (MI), Rep. David Trone (MD), Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL), and Rep. Susan Wild (PA). These new House members will join the following other Democrats on the Committee: Rep. Susan Davis (CA), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Rep. Joe Courtney (CT), Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH), Rep. Mark Takano (CA), Rep. Alma Adams (NC), Rep. DeSaulnier (CA), Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL), Rep. Susan Bonamici (OR), Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan (N.M.I), Rep, Frederica Wilson (FL), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY). In addition, The House Appropriations Committee announced several additions to the Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee, including Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). NSBA expects House Republicans to announce their membership roles for the education committee and education appropriations subcommittee to be released next week.
Partial Government Shutdown Continues, Nutrition Program Problems Emerging
The White House and Congress have not yet resolved a dispute over the president’s proposed expansion of the country’s southern border wall, leaving a number of government agencies closed. Although the Department of Education is open – the agency’s fiscal year 2019 budget was approved last year – other agencies important to school districts are not fully functioning, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Should the shutdown continue over a prolonged period, some school districts may not receive timely school lunch program reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. NSBA is reaching-out to relevant Administration officials about this potentially serious fiscal issue. We encourage school board leaders to notify us if reimbursement shortfalls will affect their districts in the near term, so that we can highlight the urgency of this problem for the Administration and Congress.
Members of Congress Introduce New Education Bills
Although very few minor bills move independently through Congress, NSBA closely monitors the introduction of new legislation to understand the priorities of Members of Congress and identify potential policy trends. This year, NSBA’s weekly policy update will highlight new legislation that could impact public schools, so that school board members can stay abreast of legislation introduced by their Members of Congress. The following federal bills were introduced in the Senate and House this week:
- H.R.653 To provide grants to eligible entities to establish, expand, or support dual or concurrent enrollment programs offering career and technical education, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Brown, Anthony G. [D-MD-4]
- H.R.672 To require the Secretary of Education to provide a deferment for certain student loans of Federal employees subject to a lapse in discretionary appropriations, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Loebsack, David [D-IA-2]
- H.Res.58 Supporting the goal of increasing public school teacher pay and public education funding. Sponsor: Rep. O'Halleran, Tom [D-AZ-1]
- H.R.608 To direct the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to develop and implement best practices for occupation-specific education for school resource officers. Sponsor: Rep. Higgins, Clay [R-LA-3]
- H.R.607 To require the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to conduct a survey of all public schools to determine the number of school resource officers at such schools. Sponsor: Rep. Higgins, Clay [R-LA-3]
- H.Res.44 Expressing support for the designation of the week of January 20 through January 26, 2019, as "National School Choice Week". Sponsor: Rep. Mitchell, Paul [R-MI-10]
- S.155 A bill to improve the financial literacy of secondary school students. Sponsor: Sen. Jones, Doug [D-AL]
- S.145 A bill to expand opportunity through greater choice in education, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC]
U.S. Department of Education Plans new Initiative Focused on Decreasing Seclusion and Restraint
The Department of Education announced the launch of an initiative intended to address the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion. The project will be led by the Office for Civil Rights in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Activities will include compliance reviews, data quality improvements, and additional technical assistance for schools. Speaking about the project, Secretary DeVos said, “This initiative will not only allow us to support children with disabilities but will also provide technical assistance to help meet the professional learning needs of those within the system serving students,” Secretary DeVos added. “The only way to ensure the success of all children with disabilities is to meet the needs of each child with a disability. This initiative furthers that important mission.”
2019 Advocacy Institute
Join us for the 2019 Advocacy Institute scheduled January 27-29, 2019 - “New Congress. New IDEA.New Opportunities.”
Dr. Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, will be a keynote speaker along with Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, and Christopher Graves, President & Founder of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science.
During the Advocacy Institute, we will launch NSBA’s campaign for modernization and full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and host sessions on “Delivering Workforce Readiness: School Districts & Business Partnerships,” “The 2020 Census & Its Impact on Student Counts, Funding and Poverty in School Districts,” “School Safety: The Federal Front, State Actions and Title IV,” and “Medication Management: Issues and Challenges.” Advance materials regarding IDEA are posted here. The following Members of Congress will be speaking at the Congressional luncheon:
- Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)
- Senator Pat Roberts (KS)
- Rep. Steve Womack (AR)
Courtesy NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of January 18, 2019