Legislative Report: January Update

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There is still a great deal of uncertainty around funding issues for FY 2018.

First, as you may recall, the continuing resolution (CR) is in effect until January 19. It is virtually guaranteed that there will need to be at least one more CR. It takes the appropriations committees about a month to write a comprehensive bill, but they can't start until they know how much money will be at their disposal. Negotiations on raising the defense and non-defense spending caps are underway, but haven't been resolved. Again, with no agreement on the top line, the committees can't move ahead.

Further complicating the situation is Congress' need to complete work on the disaster relief supplemental appropriation (to cover hurricane damage in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico and forest fires and floods in California), resolve the DACA issue and border security, and reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The House will vote on a new CR next week.

There are rumors that the Republican majority may jettison the Congressional budget process in FY 2019. This will have little effect on funding for adult education because appropriators routinely ignore the recommendations included in budget resolutions. It would, however, mean that efforts to change entitlements would likely fail, because, without the authority of the budget resolution, changes would require 60 votes in the Senate.

In other news, the Administration has yet to announce another nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of Education for OCTAE. The Administration withdrew the name of Michigan State Representative Tim Kelly after blog posts he wrote several years ago came to light.

Let's keep up our advocacy efforts to ensure funding for adult education.