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Friday, November 22
The House and Senate passed another continuing resolution that will largely level-fund the government through December 20. The President signed the continuing resolution into law last night. While we have temporarily avoided a government shutdown, House and Senate appropriators have still not agreed upon 302(b) funding levels, which determine the overall funding levels for each of the 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) – the primary funding bill for adult education programs. Congress is unlikely to finish negotiating their spending bills before December 20, which means that they will need to pass yet another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown in December.
Together we represent the adult education system of nearly 55,000 leaders, administrators, and educators preparing adults to succeed in a global culture and economy.
Friday, November 15
Government funding under the current continuing resolution expires in just six days, on November 21. Congressional appropriators are currently working to negotiate 302(b) funding levels, which set the overall funding numbers for subcommittee bills such as Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS), which funds Adult Education programs. While appropriators publicly state that they are making progress in their negotiations, it is clear that their work will not be finished by November 21.
In order to avoid a government shutdown, Congress is expected to pass another continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through December 20. As we reported last week, President Trump is expected to sign this continuing resolution, so long as it does not prevent him from securing funding for his border wall initiative.
There are still behind the scenes conversations about the potential for a continuing resolution that extends through the new year and even as far as through the next presidential election. Congressional leaders are publicly stating that they want to avoid this outcome and ensure that the additional funding agreed to in the budget deal remains on the table.
*If you participated in our Capitol Hill Day in September, we urge you to reach back out to the Members of Congress that you engaged with, and remind them of the importance of adult education and of passing appropriations bills. Please tailor this letter by including relevant data and/or information on how your program is making an impact in your State.
Friday, November 8
As we have previously reported, government funding under the current continuing resolution expires on November 21 and there has been no progress on resolving issues related to the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) spending bill. As a result of these stalled negotiations, appropriators and Congressional leaders are planning to pass another continuing resolution, which would extend current spending levels through mid-December. Their publicly stated goal is to pass all 12 appropriations bills before the new year. There are, however, behind the scenes discussions about the potential for a continuing resolution that extends through the new year and even as long as to the next presidential election. We will provide you with updates as we learn more about the status and length of the next continuing resolution.
Reports from the Trump Administration state that President Trump will support another continuing resolution as long as it does not affect his plans for border wall spending. This does leave the possibility for a government shutdown on the table, although this is an outcome that Congressional leaders hope to avoid.
Friday, November 1
Higher Education: Yesterday, on October 31, the House Education and Labor Committee voted to pass the College Affordability Act (CAA) out of Committee. The CAA is a partisan bill, written by the House Democrats to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The bill passed through Committee on a party line vote, with all Democrats voting to support the legislation and all Republicans voting to oppose it. Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the CAA, but the bill is expected to cost around $400 billion over 10 years.
It is unclear when the CAA will move to the full House floor for debate. Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) has expressed that his goal is for the full House to pass the CAA by the end of this year. We are unsure if the bill will be able to get floor time in November or December, as Congressional activity is being complicated by incomplete appropriations work and upcoming impeachment proceedings.
Appropriations: The appropriations process in the House and Senate is still stalled. Yesterday, the Senate failed to pass a vote that would have started debate on a spending package including the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) bill. Federal programs continue to be level-funded under the current continuing resolution, which is set to expire on November 21. Congress will likely need to pass another continuing resolution to extend government funding past this date. The second continuing resolution could extend into 2020.
Friday, September 27, 2019
In Congress: Last week, the Senate released its bill text and report language for its Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) spending bill. In the draft bill, Adult Education programs were level-funded at $655,667,000. We do not expect the Senate to formally mark up their LHHS bill, so this draft will serve as an unofficial marker of the Senate’s position on funding levels. Currently, House and Senate leadership are working to agree on funding levels in a final fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill.
Because the House and Senate will not be able to work through their spending differences before the end of the fiscal year (September 30), the House and Senate both recently passed a continuing resolution which will keep the government open and level-fund all discretionary government programs until November 21. President Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution before September 30 to avoid another government shutdown.
Congress will be on recess and back in their home districts starting next week and will return to session in Washington, DC on October 15.
In the Administration: The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), under funding from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) is conducting a Congressionally-mandated national study to learn more about how State and local adult education programs are providing services under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA).
One part of this study is the Provider Survey, which provides an opportunity for adult education program directors to participate in the study. The study is being conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and AIR will reach out directly to eligible programs in early October with more information on how to participate. Find more information about the study here.
Friday, September 13, 2019
The Senate intended to mark up its Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) spending bills in the Full Appropriations Committee and in the Subcommittee, but both mark ups were cancelled due to the potential for controversial amendments being introduced.
The Senate did mark up its 302(b) allocations which set individual funding limits for each of the 12 appropriations bills, including LHHS. A 302(b) is just an overall funding limitation on how much total spending a bill can include, and does not include any specific programmatic funding levels. For FY2020 the Senate has allocated $187.7 billion for LHHS. This allocation level would allow for an increase of approximately $8 billion over FY2019, but we hear that the LHHS appropriators intend to increase funding for the National Institute of Health by $3 billion and provide an increase to the Pell Grant program, which could, depending on how this increase is funded, tap into a portion of this additional $8 billion.
As of now, the Senate has not rescheduled its markup on the LHHS spending bill, so we may not see any programmatic funding levels in the near term. At some point this fall, the House and Senate will have to agree to a deal on spending for all programs. Until then, we expect a continuing resolution to pass at FY2019 numbers that will fund the government until November 22. We will keep you updated as we learn more.