Are we headed to a shutdown or not?
What will the impact be of DeVos' elimination of the discipline guidance?
Will Sen. Alexander pull off an HEA reauthorization before his departure?
This is my last Washington Update for 2018. Thank you for your readership and for the many notes and comments I receive from you in response to the blog. Please keep them coming! Wishing you a joyful holiday and a new year filled with opportunity. .
It's almost 8 pm - four hours before a substantial portion of the government will shut down if the Congress and the White House can't cut a deal. Yesterday resolution looked promising as the House passed a bill that would keep all of the government open through Feb. 8, punting final determination about the controversial border wall to the 116th Congress and the Democratic controlled House. But President Trump appeared to change gears - after earlier signaling that he would sign that bill, he decided he would not and sent the House back into session to pass a partisan spending bill that includes the $5 billion for the border wall with Mexico through January 3 - the first day of Democratic control of the House. The Senate does not appear to be ready to pass that bill, as the Republicans would need to find at least 9 Democrats to vote for it to reach the required 60 vote majority. That is most unlikely.
Legislators and White House representatives are deep in back door negotiating conversations that look to continue until the midnight deadline. So stay tuned. Once again the education advocates are counting their blessings; the education spending bill was passed in the fall and runs through September 30, 2019.
On Wednesday this week the Federal School Safety Commission, chaired by Sec. DeVos, issued their report with recommendations on how to fight future school shootings. The 180 page report offers a raft of commentary, none of which addresses how to limit access to guns in general. In fact, as expected, more guns appear to be part of the equation. Some key items in the report include:
After three terms in the U.S. Senate, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the HELP Committee, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Many speculate that his impending retirement will add pressure for a reauthorization of the Higher Education within the next two years, as that would be a great accomplishment for him before his departure. That will certainly be a big hill to climb, however, particularly as the Democrats will take over the House in 2019 and intense partisanship is likely to remain the hallmark of that body. But Alexander, in partnership with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), is largely credited with providing the leadership to craft and pass the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 -- a bipartisan feat which few thought possible. So perhaps another victory is in the offing.
Alexander's experience in education is notable - former Secretary of Education for President H.W. Bush, former governor of Tennessee and former college President. "He's had more extensive and relevant experience with colleges and universities than any member of Congress has ever had," Terry Hartle, Vp for the American Council on Education said.
The next Republican Senator in line for the top spot on the HELP Committee is Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), who chaired the Committee once before. Following him in seniority are Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Johnny Isaakson (R-GA).