Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Weekly Update

Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Weekly Update

Congressional Update

Congress and the White House Cut Two-Year Budget Deal

This week, the Senate cleared (67-28) a two-year $2.7 trillion budget agreement (H.R. 3877).  The measure increases aggregate spending by $320 billion over the next two years and lifts the debt ceiling until 2021.  As reported last week, the deal provides an aggregate $57 billion increase for non-defense programs, including education. The package is expected to be signed by the president.  With the new budget deal in place, we expect the Senate Appropriations Committee to begin making significant progress on the fiscal year 2020 during September and October and NSBA intends to fight hard in the Senate to encourage appropriators to follow the House’s lead in approving significant new education investments.

Department of Homeland Security Hosts Roundtable Discussion on School Security

The Department of Homeland Security held an initial roundtable discussion this week about the development of a federal clearinghouse to share best practices regarding school security.  The clearinghouse was a recommendation from the school safety commission to “assess, identify, and share best practices related to school security measures, technologies, and innovations”.  These topics were recently the focus of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. With states like Florida implementing new data systems designed to prevent school violence, NSBA urges members to be actively involved in state and local discussions about this topic, so that decisionmakers fully understand the education, privacy, and safety issues that must be considered in this context. NSBA will continue to closely monitor these discussions at the federal level to ensure that school board members stay abreast of any federal developments in this area.

House Education Committee Chairman Expresses Concern about SNAP Changes

House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent aletterto Agriculture Secretary Perdue this week asking the USDA to publicly release the data regarding the estimate that more than 500,000 low-income students that could potentially lose automatic eligibility for free meals at school through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed rule’s changes include: (1) To define “benefits” for categorical eligibility to mean ongoing and substantial benefits; and (2) to limit the types of non-cash TANF benefits conferring categorical eligibility to those that focus on subsidized employment, work supports and childcare.” The proposed rule would also require State agencies to inform FNS of all non-cash TANF benefits that confer categorical eligibility.  The proposed rule is open for comment until September 23, 2019.

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