Federal Advocacy & Weekly Policy Update

Federal Advocacy & Weekly Policy Update

December 20, 2019

Congressional Update

Congress Approves Final U.S. Department of Education Budget for Fiscal Year 2020

With only days remaining on the 2019 legislative calendar, congressional leaders and the White House finalized work on a massive omnibus spending bill that will fund the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies through the end of the fiscal year. The bill provides a $1.3 billion increase for education, including a $450 million increase for ESSA Title I and a $410 million increase for the IDEA State Grants program. This welcome development will enable federal leaders to begin the fiscal year 2021 appropriations process on time, assuming the White House submits the president’s annual spending request to Congress in February, as required by the Budget Act. MSBA and NSBA is pleased by Congress’s decision to increase the overall education budget and especially welcomes the additional funding provided for IDEA Part B and C but we will continue to advocate for more resources and necessary assistance. Early in 2020, we plan to ask Congress to build on these funding increases for the next fiscal year.

Congress and the White House Approve FAFSA Simplification Law

Congress and President Trump completed work this week on a new law designed to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that 20 million families complete each year to qualify for federal student aid. Under the law, the IRS will securely send tax information to the Department of Education, eliminating the need for families to resubmit tax information they have already provided to the federal government for the purpose of completing the FAFSA. This change should make it easier for high school students and their families to access financial aid for college. The new law also permanently reauthorizes and provides $255 million in annual mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions. 

Notable K12 Bills

  • R.5483To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to clarify that ASL students are English learners.Sponsor:Rep. Larsen, Rick [D-WA-2]
  • R.5463To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require a study of the time and duration of school lunch periods, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Rep. Schrier, Kim [D-WA-8]
  • 3096A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Director of the Centers for Disease Control Prevention to develop a program to prevent the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems among students in middle and high schools, to award grants to State and local health agencies to implement such program, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]


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