Legislative Updates

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Please let legislators know that the increased funding for Title II under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will greatly enhance our hard work in the field as we seek to educate and elevate adult education.

You can send an email below and/or make a phone call. It is critical that you act now. You are welcome to add impact data showcasing your work in the editable email below.

Take action today to let your legislators know that Adult Ed is important!

Invest in Adult Education

Let our elected officials know that adult education is important. By sending an email, you can tell lawmakers why you think it’s important that adult education is funded. Please write today to share your story and let them know how their policy impacts you.

We need to make our collective voice heard before it’s too late. Just a few minutes out of your day can make all the difference if you call your representatives and share your opinion. It’s time to take action, and that starts with you. Make a call today.

Add your voice to raise cause of Adult Education by taking just a few minutes to sign our petition seeking recognition and increased funding. Small actions can result in big changes. Please add your name today to support our organization’s efforts to make a difference.

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.

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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.

Additional Legislative Updates

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.

Legislative Updates Archive

We Need Your Help to Support Adult Education!

January 29, 2019

While portions of the federal government may have just reopened, preparation for the FY 2020 funding cycle are already well underway.

As we mentioned in our last note, we need your help to send a “program letter” request to each member of the House of Representatives in which your adult education programs are located and to both of your Senators.

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS CRITICAL…as each year, program letters are sent by each member of Congress to the appropriations committee, and these letters highlight the federal programs that are a priority for funding to the member of Congress.

WE NEED YOUR HELP to encourage your members of Congress to make adult education one of their priorities for funding, and you can do so with only three clicks by using our “quick fire” Ignite software to send an email to all your legislators in the House and Senate.

You will find a draft letter of support on Ignite. Please tailor this letter by including relevant data and/or information on how your program is making an impact in your state.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED NOW…as the deadline in many Congressional offices for such input from constituents is creeping up fast – some offices begin closing constituent input as early as February 1st.

Challenging Funding Environment: Action Required

January 18, 2019

Tell New and Returning Members of Congress That Adult Education is Important.

Thank you for your assistance this past year in helping raise the visibility for adult education programs, which resulted in a $25 million federal funding increase in FY 2019 and staved off $87 million in funding cuts! We need your help again this year, in a challenging funding environment and with a divided Congress, to tell our adult education stories, including the impact of its programs.

As the new Congress gets underway, the appropriations committee is preparing for the FY 2020 funding cycle. One of the most effective ways to raise the awareness of adult education with your Congressional delegation is to send a “program letter” request to each member of the House of Representatives in which your adult education programs are located, and to both of your Senators. Program letter is a technical term for a letter ultimately sent by each member of Congress to the appropriations committee in support of his or her own priorities for funding.

Members of Congress appreciate receiving input from their constituents before sending their program letters to the appropriations committee to gain a better sense of which programs matter to their district. Most members are currently accepting this input, either via letter or through a web form on their websites.

The time frame for these program request letters is tight. While the exact timetable has yet to be announced, members of the House and Senate must submit their letters to their respective Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees, which fund adult education, before the end of March 2019. To meet the appropriations committees’ deadline, members set their own internal timelines for receiving feedback from constituents about funding priorities sometime in January or February, so we ask for your immediate help.

Please use our “quick fire” ignite software to send an email to all your legislators in the House and Senate. It takes just 3 clicks to do this and reaps incredible results. You should feel free to tailor this letter by including relevant, state-level data that highlight the impact adult education programs have in your state. Our legislative firm encourages you to avoid mailing letters because they will take weeks to arrive due to security screening of the mail. Our ignite software also provides the option to call the offices of your Congressional delegation, and we hope you will take a few minutes to call as well as send the email.

Again, thank you for your assistance in this important matter.


Sharon Bonney
Executive Director

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116th Congress Convenes

The 116th Congress convened, and for the first time in eight years, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected Speaker of the House which marks only the second time in history that a former Speaker has been re-elected after losing the majority in his/her previous tenure. 63 new Democrats and 37 Republicans began their first term in Congress, which is the most diverse in history and includes over 100 women.

Speaker Pelosi and other Congressional leaders from both parties met with President Trump met this morning to discuss how to end the current partial government shutdown, but little progress was made on finding a solution for funding a wall along our southern border, which is the key sticking point to ending the current government shutdown. There will be staff negotiations over the weekend in the hopes of finding a compromise that will reopen federal agencies that have been closed as a result of the partial shutdown.

The first order of business for the new House Democratic majority was to address the shutdown by passing a FY 19 spending bill that would provide funding for the rest of the year for agencies impacted by the partial government closure, as well as reopen the Department of Homeland Security through early February while negotiations over the wall continue. However, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated that he will not bring the bill to the Senate floor as President Trump opposes it. As a result, the shutdown could continue for the foreseeable future.

Thankfully, the FY 19 Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which provides funding for the Department of Education was enacted in October and as a result, adult education programs are not impacted by the partial shutdown.

President Trump has Signed FY 19 Labor-HHS Bill (Additional $25 Million for Adult Education)

Dear COABE Members,

President Trump just signed the FY 19 Labor-HHS bill which includes funding for adult education. It is first time this bill has been enacted before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. This bill includes the additional $25 Million our field has been advocating for.

Five of the twelve appropriations bills have now been enacted. The bill signed by the President today also contains the FY 19 Defense appropriations bill and a Continuing Resolution to keep federal agencies yet to be funded open through December 7, 2018.

Congratulations to all who contacted their legislators through our Educate and Elevate campaign on behalf of Adult Education! Your hard work has paid off!

Sharon Bonney
Executive Director