Some questions:

Congress has averted our government's default, but for how long?
Who will blink first to ensure the government continues to function: the Republicans or the Democrats?
Applications for the Kennedy Foundation's one year policy fellowship in DC are open now. Is this for you?

Washington Update, October 15, 2021


Dear Colleagues:

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.

1. 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 3rd.  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.

The debt extension raises the nation’s borrowing limit by $480 billion and preserves the United States’ credit through December 3rd, the same time that government funding is set to expire. With both parties drawing new lines in the sand, it remains unclear how that impasse will be resolved. Republicans say Democrats can and will need to use the budget reconciliation process to enact further debt increases. Democrats for their part say they will not and want a bipartisan process.

“Congress took a welcome step forward over the last week in putting a disastrous debt standoff behind us, and Republicans demonstrated with their votes last Thursday that there’s no reason why they can’t do the exact same thing in December by joining with Democrats to raise the debt limit instead of triggering another showdown that would jeopardize millions of jobs, pay for the military, and benefits for seniors,” White House spokesperson Mike Gwin said in a written statement . “Fundamentally,” Gwin concluded, “we cannot allow partisan politics to hold our economy hostage, and we can’t allow the routine process of paying our bills to turn into a political football that puts our country at risk every two years, or every two months.”

Will Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) force Democrats to use reconciliation in December? Will a messy standoff complicate Democrats’ efforts in the mid-term elections? Stay tuned for continued Congressional cliff hangers through the end of the year.

2. Applications Are Open for the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, DC

Applications are now open for the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship. This is a one-year, full-time, intensive immersion experience in Washington, D.C. It is designed for “professionals, and/or persons experiencing disability and/or family members of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are currently working or volunteering in the field of inclusive services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” The purpose of the Fellowship is to prepare emerging leaders to assume leadership roles in the public policy arena at the state and/or national levels. During this one-year Fellowship, the successful applicant will learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, as well as how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. Fellows also learn how the organized disability community works to shape public policy impacting people with disabilities, and their families. The deadline to apply is November 15th at 5:00PM EST. More information and directions to apply can be found  here

3. New Resources for Educators

Wishing you a lovely fall weekend,

Jane and Kait

See you on twitter @janewestdc and @Brennan_kait

Jane E. West Ph.D.
Education Policy Consultant
Cell: 202.812.9096
Twitter: @janewestdc

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