Legislative Update: OCTAE Assistant Secretary Nomination and Senate Budget Resolution


Legislative Update: OCTAE Assistant Secretary Nomination and Senate Budget Resolution

This week, the nomination for Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) was announced. Read below to learn more about the nominee, as well as updates on the Senate budget resolution and infrastructure bill and the latest approved state stimulus plans. 
The White House Nominates the Assistant Secretary for OCTAE
On Tuesday the White House announced its intent to nominate Dr. Amy Loyd to serve as Assistant Secretary for OCTAE. Currently, Dr. Loyd serves as OCTAE’s Acting Assistant Secretary. Before this role, she was a Vice President at JFF (Jobs for the Future) where she designed and led programs across the country that improved education and workforce outcomes. She also oversaw JFF’s work in workforce development with a lens on economic advancement, state policy, federal policy, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Loyd previously was the Director of Education at Cook Inlet Tribal Council, leading a network of schools in providing culturally responsive education, training and wraparound services to the Alaska Native and Native American communities
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona shared a statement of support for Dr. Loyd’s nomination. Next, there will be a Senate confirmation hearing and vote on this nomination.   
Senate Democrats Release Budget Resolution for $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Package
Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Associate for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Original post can be found here
On Monday, Senate Democrats released their Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget resolution, setting the stage for a $3.5 trillion “budget reconciliation” package that would implement major changes to social programs, climate policy and other domestic policies.
The instructions within the resolution directs committees of jurisdiction to produce their pieces of the reconciliation package by September 15, then each would be bundled together for floor debate as a single piece of legislation. This piece of legislation could be approved by the Senate with a majority vote and would not be subject to the 60-vote threshold needed to move most bills forward in that chamber. The proposal estimates about $1.75 trillion in offsets, including tax increases on upper-income households and corporations, among other savings efforts. The resolution also includes a specific mandate that ensures no taxes are raised on families earning less than $400,000 a year.
More specifically to education programs, the reconciliation instructions include $726.4 billion for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the biggest allotment to any committee. Within that figure, the budget resolution assumes the committee will provide funding for programs like universal prekindergarten, free postsecondary tuition, job training and workforce development programs, community health centers and educator investments. It is important to remember that just because something is included initially within the budget resolution, it doesn’t mean it will eventually make it into the final package. It is critical that we continue to advocate to policymakers for CTE and workforce development funding throughout the rest of the process.
Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Package
This week, the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure proposal in a 69-30 vote. The package will cost $1.2 trillion over eight years, including $550 billion in new spending. The bill includes a $65 billion investment in broadband. This would provide grants to states for broadband and middle-mile deployment, as well as support for broadband affordability. The expansion of eligible private activity bond projects to include broadband infrastructure is also included in this investment. Additional education-related provisions include: 

  • $5 billion for clean-energy school buses;
  • $1.5 billion for the establishment of the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program;
  • $500 million for competitive grants to schools for energy efficiency improvements;
  • $200 million for the removal of lead contamination in school drinking water; and
  • $200 million to support voluntary testing or compliance monitoring for and remediation of lead contamination in drinking water at schools and child care programs

Next, this bill will be taken under consideration by the House. 
ED Approves More State K-12 Stimulus Plans
ED announced the approval of additional America Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) state plans and distributed remaining funds to those states. The five newly approved states and funding levels include: 

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy