Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DREAM Act Reintroduced, Job Training Hearing, Negotiated Rulemaking

Today, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced the DREAM Act with 32 other Senate co-sponsors. The DREAM Act would allow students to obtain permanent legal residence if they came to the U.S. as children (15 or under), have had continuous physical presence in the country for at least five years, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, and completed two years of college or military service in good standing. A video of Senator Durbin’s press conference and further information on the DREAM Act can be found at:

Also, the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing today chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to examine the efficiency of federal job training programs. A March 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified 44 out of 47 federal job training programs that overlap with another program, and it stated that only five have conducted an impact study since 2004 to examine outcomes. The subcommittee examined state and local efforts to consolidate and improve workforce training initiatives and questioned witnesses about the potential for consolidating programs within the context of reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

Negotiations over both the FY 2012 budget and an extension of the debt limit are ongoing. The Senate Budget Committee may mark up an FY 2012 budget resolution next week. Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) resolution is likely to include some of the recommendations of the President’s fiscal commission, which would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years through a 50/50 combination of spending cuts and revenue increases by eliminating tax expenditures and letting the Bush-era tax cuts on income above $1 million expire.

White House-led talks with Congressional leaders continue to seek an agreement on a debt reduction package to move in conjunction with an increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Rather than negotiate a comprehensive agreement on taxes and entitlements, the emerging expectation is that any agreement will include some substantial spending cuts along with some form of budget controls to reduce future deficits. Battles over the larger tax reform and specific entitlement cuts may be tabled until a later date.

Finally, tomorrow the Department of Education begins another round of negotiated rulemaking to craft regulations under the Higher Education Act of 1965. Hearings will begin in Nashville, TN and also be held in Tacoma, WA; Chicago, IL; and Charleston, SC. To see a schedule of the hearings and information about public participation, visit:

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