Feb. 8 is the deadline for both the short-term extension of the Federal Budget and for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals).
When Congress failed to adopt a funding bill on Jan. 19, it triggered a 69-hour federal shutdown, which ended when Congress adopted yet another continuing resolution that funds the government (at FY17 levels) through Feb. 8.
In addition to ending the shutdown, the resolution provided a six-year funding extension for the CHIP program, which benefits Minnesota children and the state budget. As part of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured a stand-alone vote on immigration to address the DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) issue, also by Feb. 8.
Here’s an update on where things stand:
Congress will now resume its work to determine final funding levels for FY18. As a reminder, the House and Senate allocations varied not only at the program level, but also at the overall allocation level. The chambers will need to determine the overall amount available for FY18 the divide that into the sub-appropriations bills, which can then determine program-specific funding. Congress is bound by federal funding caps, and the FY18 cap is below the FY17 cap, meaning that unless Congress takes a step to raise the overall cap for FY18, there will be strong downward pressure on annual appropriations, likely to translate into cuts for education programs. Another conversation happening at the same time will be the discussion about raising the caps.
The deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program protections ends in March, after a 6-month timeline for Congress to reach compromise on a long-term solution. The real item to watch is if the House will pass what the Senate adopts.
The biggest action related to education technology and schools was the FCC decision to rescind the network neutrality (“net neutrality”) regulations. Absent a requirement to ensure all content flows equally, there is an opportunity for internet providers to limit/control what content is available. This is a simplification, a good explainer can be found here.
As required by ESSA, the U,S. Department of Education released the preliminary draft report regarding the services and supports the feds provide to rural schools and districts. In addition, the law requires the staff across the agency to provide a list of action items to Congress.
Currently, a 60-day public comment period is underway with a deadline of Feb. 20.
Thanks to Sasha Pudelski of NREAC for this report.