Some questions:

How will Sec. DeVos defend her $10 billion cut in education funding on Capitol Hill next week?

Do the new DeVos voucher plans have a chance on the Hill?

Ivanka Trump released the Administration's proposal for Higher Ed Reauthorization. What's in it?

Washington Update, March 22, 2019


Dear Colleagues:

Congress has been in recess this week. They will be back next week with a full agenda and a big push for accomplishments before Easter recess.

1. Secretary DeVos in the Hotseat Next Week Defending Her Budget on Capitol Hill

With the President's budget released, Capitol Hill is now beginning its appropriations work. Step one: scrutinizing the President's budget proposal. Secretary DeVos will testify before the House Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday to be followed by her appearance before the Senate counterpart on Thursday. I'm looking for some fireworks on Tuesday, as this will be the first time for Subcommittee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to be questioning the Secretary while holding the gavel as chair. In past years, Sec. DeVos has come in for quite a pummeling from not only Democratic Members of the House, but also Republicans - for matters ranging from "why don't you communicate with us" to defending discriminatory admissions practices in voucher programs. What questions would you like to see Sec. DeVos answer? Here are a few I'm interested in:

On another note, House leadership has announced that it is looking to begin moving appropriations bills through subcommittees in April. There is talk about packaging several appropriations bills together for floor action, a strategy that proved effective last year. The Congress still needs to raise the existing budget caps in order to avoid deep cuts - and the consensus is that "this will happen" at some point.

Watch the House hearing Tuesday at 10:15:

Senate hearing Thursday at 10 AM:


2. Ivanka Trump Leads Administration's Push on Higher Education Act Reauthorization

This week the Trump Administration released its proposal to reform the Higher Education Act. Ivanka Trump is spearheading the plan. She said that the goal of the proposal is "to create a more innovative and demand-driven system that is responsive to students, workers, employers and taxpayers." Priorities of the proposal include simplifying student loan repayment, expanding Pell grants for "short-term, high quality programs" and improving the transparency of student outcomes. The proposal also includes the following:

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member on the Senate HELP Committee blasted the proposal calling it "a feeble attempt to claim the Trump Administration is helping students by identifying one symptom of rising student debt, while completely ignoring the root cause - that college costs are rising exponentially and most students can't afford college without taking on massive amounts of debt." HELP Committee Chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he welcomed the Administration's proposal as he works with Sen. Murray to develop a reauthorization bill. He hopes to have the bill marked up in the HELP Committee in the spring, to the Senate floor in the summer and on the President's desk for signature by the end of the year. This is an ambitious timetable, to say the least.


Comments of Sen. Murray:

Comments of Sen. Alexander:

3. New Resources for Educators

Enjoy your lovely spring weekend! Next week I'll be headed to Capitol Hill with a group of undergraduates from Bucknell University who are studying to be teachers. They want to see just how Washington works. It's always fun to watch their eyes open wide as the curtains part!

See you on @janewestdc


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

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