Consistently relaying timely and valuable news updates and developments to clients is a priority at Washington Partners. Here you will find samples of our weekly publications as well as select news pieces that examine and highlight the education policy conversation as it relates to legislation, the political climate, and our client priorities in the context of the democratic process.
On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, President Donald Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress. The first speech of its kind by an incoming president is functionally the same as a State of the Union address, but historically is not given that title. Instead of a progress report, initial addresses to Congress are typically used as a platform for an incoming president to outline a vision for the country for the next four years and to elaborate on the priorities behind that vision. Last night’s address proved true to form, and after a tumultuous first month in office, it was clear that Trump sought to give a strong, unifying, and strikingly more ceremonial touch to his image as president. The speech centered on the American middle class and themes focused on creating jobs; repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; fighting terror both domestic and foreign; reforming immigration policy; and rebuilding American infrastructure. President Trump’s address was more measured in tone and had fewer grandiose moments than onlookers have come to expect, but rather seemed to focus on the concerns of his base with regard to reinvigorating the economy and safeguarding American communities. In addition to the content of the speech, the story of the night seemed to be the positive reaction of the mainstream news media that almost uniformly described Trump’s demeanor as “presidential.”
The Education Report, a weekly publication of WPLLC, provides an executive summary of public policy issues affecting American education.
If you would like to gain access to current editions of The Education Report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Budget and Appropriations (Written 1/13/17)
This week, the news from Capitol Hill has been focused on Trump cabinet nominees (although not would-be Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos), “fake” news, an odd Trump Tower “press conference” and Republican efforts to repeal and/or replace Obamacare. As for this week’s education news, seventeen states and the District of Columbia told the Department of Education that they will file their ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plans by April 3. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont (plus the District of Columbia). The remaining states are presumably opting for the September 18 deadline. Of course, the incoming Trump Administration might not be ready to review those plans by April, or might push back all manner of ESSA deadlines. Regardless, it’s clear some states are eager to get going with new accountability plans.
As for Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing—it’s scheduled for Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00 pm. The lateness is odd, but would accommodate travel schedules of senators returning to Washington, DC, after the three-day weekend. Senate Democrats are seeking further delay, but Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, wants to dispense with the hearing quickly and get Trump’s pick confirmed. This week, more and more groups publicly voiced concerns about Betsy DeVos’s views on public education, her business background, her political contributions and her overall expertise in education policy outside of “school choice” issues. The hearing will be a lively one, as the other confirmation hearings have been, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will certainly have stern questions for her.
The education community continues to watch the conversation around budget reconciliation and the intention to repeal Obamacare for any would-be effects or signals regarding overall spending. So far, there haven’t been many, but the broader discussion around discretionary spending suggests that that non-defense discretionary spending and discretionary defense spending will be treated differently on Capitol Hill in the near future. Both the Secretary of Defense nominee and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), who chairs the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, suggested that defense needs should be funded without regard to what is going on in other federal investments. Representative Cole even suggested that there might be a move to alleviate the restrictions that sequestration could place on defense spending, but did not suggest the same for non-defense spending. This is concerning for education and other domestic programs, and has their Democratic champions on Capitol Hill on high alert.
Next week will be a short one in Washington, DC, but will be packed with action. After Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, the city will prepare for Friday’s Inauguration and the subsequent marches and protests. That means the city will pretty much be shut down for business on Friday (or maybe even starting on Thursday, given the sweeping street closures and security measures). Tuesday evening is circled in red (for now—assuming no more delays) on education calendars across the city. That’s the day that more will be learned about the person who will likely hold the fate of federal education policy in her hands.
- Brookings Institute Discusses Role of Public Investment
- AFT Gives Recommendations to Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos
- CCRSC Outlines Intersection of Well-Rounded and Work-Based Learning
- House Democrats Form New Public Education Caucus
- New America Reflects On Next Generation Universities Initiative
- AEE Discusses Brining Mind, Brain, and Education Science to Teachers
- McGraw Hill Education Hosts Webinar On Comprehensive Literacy Plans
- Sources Say Allan B. Hubbard Top Contender for Deputy Education Secretary
- Learning to Teach: Practice-Based Preparation in Teacher Education
- Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (January 2017)
- What’s Hot in Literacy: 2017 Report
- International Literacy Association (January 2017)
- Five Key Trends in U.S. Student Performance
- Economic Policy Institute (January 2017)
- Charter Schools: The Landscape and the Horizon
- National Association of State Boards of Education (January 2017)
- Best Practices for Determining Subgroup Size in Accountability Systems While Protecting PII
- Institute of Education Sciences (January 2017)
- Ten Questions Senators Could Ask Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos
- Politics K-12 (Jan. 10, 2017)
- U.S. Supreme Court Considers Level of Special Education Benefits
- The Denver Post (Jan. 11, 2017)
- Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Raises Concerns About DeVos’ Record on LGBT Issues
- The Wisconsin Gazette (Jan. 12, 2017)
- Native American Students Sue U.S. Government Over Dismal Education
- The Huffington Post (Jan. 12, 2017)
- The Return of the MOOC
- The Economist (Jan. 13, 2017)
Please find below a schedule of announced nomination hearings. This list will be updated as additional information is released.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Secretary of Health and Human Services – Tom Price
Subject: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Time and Location: 10:00 a.m.; 215 Dirksen SOB.
Small Business Administration Administrator – Linda McMahon
Subject: The Senate Small Business Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Linda McMahon as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
Time and Location: 10:30 a.m.; 428A Russell SOB.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director – Mick Mulvaney
Subject: The Senate Committee on the Budget will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Time and Location: 10:30 a.m.; 608 Dirksen SOB.
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee will vote on the nominations of Congressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior; and Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
- The Senate Banking Committee will vote on the nomination of Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Developmnet.
- The Senate Commerce Committee will vote on the nomination of Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce; and Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Secretary of Labor – Andrew Puzder
Subject: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor.
Time and Location: TBD.
Additional Nominations – Confirmation Hearings TBD
Secretary of the Treasury – Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross
Deputy Secretary of Commerce – Todd Ricketts
Secretary of Veterans Affairs – David Shulkin
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator – Scott Pruitt
Ambassador to the United Nations – Governor Nikki Haley
Director of the Office of Management and Budget – Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
U.S. Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer
White House Appointments and Staff
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Deputy Chiefs of Staff – Rick Dearborn, Joe Hagin, and Katie Walsh
Special Representative for International Negotiations – Jason Greenblatt
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism – Thomas Bossert
Counselor – Kellyanne Conway
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
National Security Advisor – Retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor – K.T. McFarland
Counsel – Donald McGahn
Press Secretary – Sean Spicer
Strategic Communications Director – Hope Hicks
Social Media Director – Dan Scavino
Senior Policy Adviser to the President for Policy – Stephen Miller
Political Director – Bill Stepien
Director of Legislative Affairs – Marc Short
Director of the National Economic Council – Gary Cohn
Republican National Committee – Ronna Romney McDaniel
Regulatory Reform Advisor – Carl Icahn
Director of the White House National Trade Council – Peter Navarro
Following his victory earlier this November, President-Elect Donald Trump has started to announce nominees for his cabinet. After meeting with several well-known figures in education, Trump tapped Betsy DeVos, a Michigan philanthropist and conservative activist, as his nominee for Secretary of Education.
To read more about her background as well as the reaction of the education community, please read WPLLC’s Issue Brief on Betsy DeVos.
The Election Results and 115th New Congress Member Biographies Analysis examines the 2016 Presidential Election of Republican Donald J. Trump as well as the House and Senate elections that resulted in Republicans maintaining control of both chambers of Congress. To access WPLLC’s analysis of the election results, as well as information regarding each new congressional member, go to: Election Results and New Member Profiles for 115th Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives 2017 Schedule: https://www.majorityleader.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2017_ANNUAL_CALENDAR.pdf
U.S. Senate 2017 Schedule: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/2017_schedule.htm
U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: http://help.senate.gov
U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce: http://edworkforce.house.gov/
U.S. Senate Budget Committee: http://www.budget.senate.gov
U.S. House Budget Committee: http://www.house.gov/budget
Congressional Budget Office: http://www.cbo.gov
Federal legislative information: https://www.congress.gov//
Federal Regulations Information (New Federal Grant Opportunities): http://www.regulations.gov