education

Senate appropriations process continues to devolve
Labor-HHS-Education and State-Foreign Operations spending bills mired in abortion dispute

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has seen the Senate’s appropriations process begin to fray this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators have abandoned plans to mark up two spending bills Thursday that have become mired in a partisan dispute over abortion policy.

The Appropriations Committee announced it will postpone consideration of its fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill and its State-Foreign Operations bill. As of Wednesday evening, the panel still planned to take up its Defense and Energy-Water bills at a full committee markup, along with a measure that would divvy up total discretionary spending among the 12 subcommittees.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rankles, entertains at student debt hearing
Congressional hearings can be dry but not today

Things got a little testy between Rep. Sean Duffy, seen here, and Hasan Minhaj at Tuesday's hearing. (CQ Roll Call Screenshot)

You may not think a hearing on solving the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis would provide many laughs, but comedian Hasan Minhaj racked up a few, to the annoyance of some Republicans, while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.

Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t short on tense exchanges, either, even from the jump.

Congress has college affordability in its grasp. They should vote for ISAs
Income share agreements reduce risk for students while incentivizing schools

Income sharing agreements protect students from paying for educational experiences that don’t create value for them in the labor market, Price writes. (Courtesy iStock)

OPINION — Each year, our higher education system confers roughly two million bachelor’s degrees. Unfortunately, it also produces one million student loan defaults. This isn’t simply “two steps forward, one step back.” This is a system-wide failure that, while creating immeasurable value for some, is financially crippling many others along the way. We need college to generate more value for more students.

Some on Capitol Hill are vying for free college. While aspirational, such calls are unlikely to succeed in today’s political environment, and don’t address the broken business model of traditional higher education in the first place. Instead, Congress needs to address not just how much students pay for college, but also “how” they pay. Income share agreements, or ISAs, are an option worth considering.

Senate GOP plans to divert health, education funds to border wall
$5 billion move would set up clash with Democratic House over fiscal 2020 spending

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby  plans for his committee to begin marking up spending bills when Congress returns in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are looking to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in part by putting about $5 billion less in the largest domestic spending bill, several people with knowledge of the process said.

That move signals a likely fight over wall funding, as well as over Trump’s ability to reprogram or transfer funds to the border, when the fiscal 2020 appropriations process resumes after Congress returns in September.

Plans to erase student debt gain steam in presidential race
2020 Democrats split on who should benefit, but even moderates back some free college

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn unveil legislation Tuesday to forgive student loan debt. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In a crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders jockeying for progressive support, debt-free college and student debt cancellation are emerging as marquee policy proposals — ones that could appeal to the one in five Americans who carry student debt.

Plans vary, and there is wide disagreement about who should benefit and how such policies should be funded. But even the more moderate candidates in the field are calling for at least some access to free college, in recognition of the growing burden student loans have placed on a generation of graduates. Polling, however, shows its importance to voters varies sharply with age.

Democrats propose tuition help to boost AmeriCorps
Legislation aims to increase volunteer ranks to 1 million

Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., speaks at a press conference to introduce ACTION for National Service outside the Capitol on June 25, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats hope to attract more volunteers to AmeriCorps and other federal service programs by cutting college costs.

Legislation introduced Tuesday, dubbed the ACTION for National Service Act, would award those who work in federal service at least two years with up to four years of in-state tuition where their college is located. The awarded money would be exempt from federal taxes.

Sen. Bernie Sanders bill would forgive all college debt
Sanders plan ups the ante on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to cancel student debt for 95 percent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will unveil his plan to cancel out debt for all who are paying for student loans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders touted new legislation Monday to zero out student debt for millions of borrowers.

The proposal — the College For All Act — would relieve the debt of all borrowers and would be paid for by a series of taxes on Wall Street transactions. States would ensure that students can attend public colleges without paying tuition or fees, in exchange for $48 billion per year in federal funding.

Education Department investigating Duke-UNC event for ‘anti-semitic rhetoric’
Duke-UNC Middle East studies consortium that hosted event slated to receive $235,000 per year over next four years

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., received a letter this week from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying the department will "examine" alleged anti-semitic rhetoric at a federally subsidized Middle East studies event at the University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Education plans to investigate a Middle East studies event hosted by Duke University and the University of North Carolina in which a Palestinian guest performer appeared to lead the attendants in anti-semitic rhetoric.

The Duke-UNC consortium on Middle East studies used $5,000 of federal grant money from DOE for the event, the News and Observer in Raleigh reported at the time.

Warren and Clyburn team up on effort to cancel student loan debts for 95 percent of borrowers
Legislation to be introduced in the weeks ahead

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn is leading the House effort to cancel student loan debts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be joining House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn in an aggressive effort to cancel student loan debt.

“For far too many students and families, the cost of higher education has meant daunting debt and a lifetime of student loan repayments,” Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he'd like to have all 12 spending bills done by the end of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.