Legislative Update: Congressional Hearings and Updates from ED


Legislative Update: Congressional Hearings and Updates from ED

This week, the House held its final hearing on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) reauthorization. Read below to learn more about this hearing, as well as a hearing on the federal education budget and movement in the appropriations process, newly shared state plans for stimulus K-12 funds, a new statement on Title IX and more education appointees. 
House Subcommittee Holds WIOA Hearing
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing on “WIOA Reauthorization: Examining Successful Models of Employment for Justice-Involved Individuals.” The following witnesses provided testimony and then answered questions from committee members: 

  • Ms. Traci Scott, Vice President of the Workforce Development Division, National Urban League;
  • Mr. Gregg Keesling, President of DBA RecycleForce Workforce, Inc., Indianapolis, IN; 
  • Dr. Pamela Lattimore, Senior Director for Research Development for the Division for Applied Justice Research, RTI International; and 
  • Ms. Wendi Safstrom, Executive Director, SHRM Foundation.

Safstrom is also a member of the Advance CTE Board. Common themes that came up throughout the hearing were the need to look at the full workforce ecosystem and engage all stakeholders, the importance of wraparound supports for reentry into the workforce and understanding the full background of justice-involved individuals to learn about the scope of resources that best suits their needs.
Advance CTE’s recommendations for reauthorization of WIOA can be found here. A recording of the full hearing as well as member statements and witness testimonies can be found here
Cardona Testifies to Senate on FY22 Budget Proposal
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) on the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) emphasized the need for the federal education budget to increase not only because of the needs pre-pandemic, but because of the inequities that were increased because of the pandemic. Subcommittee Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) spent time in his opening remarks to say that he is a proud supporter of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Perkins Basic State Grant. 
You can follow this link to advocate for CTE funding in FY22 by asking your Senator to sign the “Dear Colleague letter” supporting robust CTE funding. A recording of the full hearing as well as Secretary Cardona’s testimony can be found here
ED Posts State Plans for Use of K-12 Stimulus Funds 
On Monday ED announced that the 28 plans submitted by State Education Agencies (SEAs) describing use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to support schools, students and educators have been posted to the ED website while awaiting approval from the department. The ARP ESSER Fund provides nearly $122 billion to states to support the nation’s schools in safely reopening and sustaining safe in-person operations while meeting the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
ED shared that plans highlight the following strategies:

  • Accelerating and sustaining the safe return to in-person instruction; 
  • Implementing coronavirus prevention and mitigation strategies, including expanding access to vaccinations for school staff and students; 
  • Offering summer learning and enrichment programs; 
  • Providing social, emotional and mental health support to students; and
  • Addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time. 

ARP ESSER state plans were submitted by Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. ED is also working with states that were unable to submit plans by the June 7 deadline. 
House Approves Total Spending Level for FY22 
Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.  
On Monday, the House approved a resolution, along party lines, that would set the topline discretionary spending level for House appropriators for fiscal year (FY) 2022 to $1.506 trillion. The “deeming resolution,” however, does not specify the 302(a) allocations, which are the topline funding levels for both defense and nondefense discretionary spending. Once those are set, House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) can begin to establish the 302(b) allocations for each of the twelve spending bills prior to the beginning of subcommittee mark-ups, which are slated to begin June 24.
Under normal circumstances, the budget resolution is an agreement between the House and Senate on a budgetary plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Once agreed to by both chambers, the budget resolution creates parameters that may be enforced by points of order and using the budget reconciliation process. When the House and Senate do not reach an agreement on this plan, Congress may employ alternative legislative tools to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution, which are usually called “deeming resolutions.” It is important to note that deeming resolutions do not include reconciliation instructions to authorizing committees, so in order for House Democrats to implement the Administration’s infrastructure and other spending plans, they will still need to introduce and pass a budget resolution for FY 2022.
The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee is expected to mark-up their proposal on July 12, according to a recent announcement from the chairwoman. Typically, the committee does not announce programmatic funding levels prior to the mark-up, so this should provide the first look at the committee’s funding priorities for FY 2022.  
ED Confirms Title IX Protects Students from Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced a new Notice of Interpretation stating that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance. This follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex. 
Last week a report from OCR found that the vulnerability of LGBTQ+ students has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them without access to school-based mental health services and other supports. One survey found that 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that their mental health was “poor” either all or most of the time during the pandemic , compared with 61 percent of cisgender youth.
ED Announces More Biden-Harris Appointees
More political appointees for ED were announced, including two positions within the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE): Emily Lamont and Elias Romans, both Special Assistants. The full list of most recent ED appointees includes: 

  • Alice Abrokwa, Senior Counsel, Office for Civil Rights
  • Elizabeth Baer, Deputy Director of Scheduling, Office of the Secretary
  • Larry Bowden, Special Assistant, Office of the Secretary
  • Miriam Calderon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy and Early Learning, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Cristina Flores, Director of Scheduling, Office of the Secretary
  • Anna Hartge, Special Assistant, Office of the Secretary
  • Rachel Hegarty, Confidential Assistant, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development
  • Emily Lamont, Special Assistant, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Kevin Lima, Special Assistant, Office of Communications and Outreach
  • Ben Martel, Confidential Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Clare McCann, Special Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary
  • Gypsy Moore, Senior Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
  • Keigo O’Haru, Confidential Assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Elias Romanos, Special Assistant, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Sebastian Rozo, Confidential Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary
  • Marco Sanchez, Special Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Tiffany Taber, Managing Writer, Office of Communications and Outreach
  • Kalila Winters, Special Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Addie Zinsner, Confidential Assistant, Office for Civil Rights

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy