Thursday, June 24, 2010

Congress Works to Wrap Up Tax Extenders and Appropriations Bill

This week, Congress has been working to wrap up activity on the tax extenders bill and the supplemental appropriations bill. Senate leaders have revised the extenders bill by scaling down the cost of the bill again, but it still appears that the bill lacks the necessary votes to break the filibuster. The Senate bill includes important changes to the Community College and Career Training Grant (CCCTG) program, which was funded within the reconciliation bill.

Recently, House Republican leaders announced that they would oppose any additional dollars beyond funds for war and disasters, even if the funding is offset by other funds. This adds an additional hurdle as Congressional leaders work to finalize a bill that has been pending for a number of weeks. Meanwhile, funding for education jobs is now down to $10 billion from $23 billion. The funding appears to be offset, but the offset will not come from ARRA unspent funds. The status of the Pell Grant shortfall funds is unclear, but the overall sense is that these funds may be in jeopardy due to the desire to limit funding to war and disasters.

The Congressional district work period/recess for July 4th is rapidly approaching, and there is a strong desire to finalize action on these two bills before the recess. It is unclear what actions will be made to advance these two important bills.

Today, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing entitled “Emerging Risk? An Overview of the Federal Investment in For-Profit Education.” The committee will hold additional hearings to examine the for-profit sector due to the disproportionate share of federal financial aid and the rise in student loan default rates.

Click here to read the committee's report on the for-profit sector.

Click here to view the hearing.

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