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Federal Relations

OVERVIEW

The congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation and the federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. As a result, the status of bills may not change for months. Disagreements and posturing during the federal budget process often result in “continuing resolutions” (CR) that maintain the prior fiscal year's funding levels, setting aside major changes proposed earlier in the year. On September 30, 2015, the last day of the federal fiscal year, the federal government avoided a shutdown by passing a CR that only funded the government through December 11, 2015. On October 26, 2015, outgoing House Speaker John Boehner announced he had reached an agreement—privately negotiated with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid—submitting a tentative budget agreement. The budget agreement increased federal spending by $80 billion over two years and would be divided equally between defense and domestic programs. The federal government passed another CR that extended the December 11, 2015 deadline. The House and Senate subsequently adopted an Omnibus Appropriations Act, which President Obama signed on December 18, 2015. The $1.1 trillion funding bill will keep the government running until September 30, 2016.

January 2016 Update (PDF)

Since there was no recent activity regarding Federal legislation there is not a Federal Update for February. 

OVERVIEW

Earlier this month members of the Board of Governors and the Chancellor's Office attended the Association for Community College Trustees (ACCT) 2016 National Legislative Summit (NLS) in Washington, D.C. This annual event brings together community college leaders – including governing board members, district chancellors and college presidents – from across the nation to advocate on key higher education policy issues. In addition to numerous conference activities and event, NLS participants meet with federal policy makers in the White House, government agencies and on Capitol Hill. This year, the Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office was represented by Board President Baum, Vice President Estolano, Board Member Malumed, Board President-emeritus Baca, Deputy Chancellor Skinner and Vice Chancellor Stewart. In addition, they were joined by leadership and staff from the Community College League of California (CCLC). Over the course of two days, the group met with eleven members of the California Congressional delegation, including Senators Feinstein and Boxer, staff to Minority Leader Pelosi and key members of the House Education & Workforce, Veterans Affairs and Armed Services committees. Their itinerary also included briefings for the House California Public Higher Education Caucus, as well as the NLS attendees from California and a breakfast forum with Congressman Mark Takano, who formerly served as a trustee on the Riverside Community College District governing board. This year’s advocacy issues focused on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Pell Grant program and support for community college student veterans. The NLS was also an opportunity to showcase our recently released State of the System report and highlight our many student success efforts, including improvements in transfer, institutional effectiveness and workforce and career technical education.

March 2016 Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

The congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation as well as the process to pass a federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. As a result, the status of bills may not change for months. While Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced last year that the Higher Education Act (HEA) would be reauthorized by the end of 2015, the HEA has yet to be reauthorized. The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training established four key principles to guide the reauthorization process, which it developed in response to feedback from students, institutions, innovators, administrators, and researchers. Last year, Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) expressed her confidence that the following four pillars will “translate into meaningful federal reforms that reflect the evolving needs of students and the workforce:” 1) empowering students and families to make informed decisions; 2) simplifying and improving student aid; 3) promoting innovation, access and completion; 4) ensuring strong accountability while limiting the federal role. Congress continues to examine the ways in which it can help strengthen America’s higher education system.

April 2016 Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

As we have reported in the past, the congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation as well as the process to pass a federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. As a result, the status of bills may not change for months. While Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced last year that the Higher Education Act (HEA) would be reauthorized by the end of 2015, the HEA has yet to be reauthorized. The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training established four key principles to guide the reauthorization process, which it developed in response to feedback from students, institutions, innovators, administrators, and researchers. Last year, Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) expressed her confidence that the following four pillars will “translate into meaningful federal reforms that reflect the evolving needs of students and the workforce:” 1) empowering students and families to make informed decisions; 2) simplifying and improving student aid; 3) promoting innovation, access and completion; 4) ensuring strong accountability while limiting the federal role. Congress continues to examine the ways in which it can help strengthen America’s higher education system.

May 2016 Update (PDF)