education

Senate GOP plans to divert health, education funds to border wall
$5 billion move would set up clash with Democratic House over fiscal 2020 spending

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby  plans for his committee to begin marking up spending bills when Congress returns in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are looking to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in part by putting about $5 billion less in the largest domestic spending bill, several people with knowledge of the process said.

That move signals a likely fight over wall funding, as well as over Trump’s ability to reprogram or transfer funds to the border, when the fiscal 2020 appropriations process resumes after Congress returns in September.

Plans to erase student debt gain steam in presidential race
2020 Democrats split on who should benefit, but even moderates back some free college

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn unveil legislation Tuesday to forgive student loan debt. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In a crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders jockeying for progressive support, debt-free college and student debt cancellation are emerging as marquee policy proposals — ones that could appeal to the one in five Americans who carry student debt.

Plans vary, and there is wide disagreement about who should benefit and how such policies should be funded. But even the more moderate candidates in the field are calling for at least some access to free college, in recognition of the growing burden student loans have placed on a generation of graduates. Polling, however, shows its importance to voters varies sharply with age.

Democrats propose tuition help to boost AmeriCorps
Legislation aims to increase volunteer ranks to 1 million

Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., speaks at a press conference to introduce ACTION for National Service outside the Capitol on June 25, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats hope to attract more volunteers to AmeriCorps and other federal service programs by cutting college costs.

Legislation introduced Tuesday, dubbed the ACTION for National Service Act, would award those who work in federal service at least two years with up to four years of in-state tuition where their college is located. The awarded money would be exempt from federal taxes.

Sen. Bernie Sanders bill would forgive all college debt
Sanders plan ups the ante on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to cancel student debt for 95 percent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will unveil his plan to cancel out debt for all who are paying for student loans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders touted new legislation Monday to zero out student debt for millions of borrowers.

The proposal — the College For All Act — would relieve the debt of all borrowers and would be paid for by a series of taxes on Wall Street transactions. States would ensure that students can attend public colleges without paying tuition or fees, in exchange for $48 billion per year in federal funding.

Education Department investigating Duke-UNC event for ‘anti-semitic rhetoric’
Duke-UNC Middle East studies consortium that hosted event slated to receive $235,000 per year over next four years

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., received a letter this week from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying the department will "examine" alleged anti-semitic rhetoric at a federally subsidized Middle East studies event at the University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Education plans to investigate a Middle East studies event hosted by Duke University and the University of North Carolina in which a Palestinian guest performer appeared to lead the attendants in anti-semitic rhetoric.

The Duke-UNC consortium on Middle East studies used $5,000 of federal grant money from DOE for the event, the News and Observer in Raleigh reported at the time.

Warren and Clyburn team up on effort to cancel student loan debts for 95 percent of borrowers
Legislation to be introduced in the weeks ahead

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn is leading the House effort to cancel student loan debts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be joining House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn in an aggressive effort to cancel student loan debt.

“For far too many students and families, the cost of higher education has meant daunting debt and a lifetime of student loan repayments,” Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he'd like to have all 12 spending bills done by the end of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

Kamala Harris to push pay hikes for public defenders
California Democrat wants to bring parity with prosecutors

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is proposing improvements for public defenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Kamala Harris is set to unveil a new effort Wednesday to boost the pay of public defenders, as part of an effort to improve legal services.

Under a bill that the California Democrat — and 2020 White House hopeful — is set to introduce, there would be new limits on the workload for lawyers working full-time as public defenders, and a path to bring defenders’ pay in line what what is earned by prosecutors.

Bill making sure university presidents know about alleged sexual abuse introduced
The effort led by members from Michigan following scandal at Michigan State

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among the lead sponsors of the new legislation, known as the ALERT Act, which effectively mandates that university presidents cannot claim ignorance in Title IX cases. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s a new push for legislation to effectively mandate that university presidents cannot claim ignorance when allegations of sexual assault are made against their employees.

A bill being introduced in both the House and the Senate would require colleges and universities annually certify that top officials, including at least one trustee, have reviewed all of the sexual assault allegations if they want to keep getting federal funding.

‘Anti-semitic rhetoric’ at Duke-UNC event prompts Rep. Holding to ask for federal probe
Holding argued in his letter to the DOE that the event program contained a list of speakers with a clear “anti-Israel bias.”

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., asked the Department of Education to probe “anti-Semitic rhetoric” at a joint Duke-UNC conference on the conflict in Gaza. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. George Holding has asked the Department of Education to investigate whether a joint conference on Middle East studies by Duke University and the University of North Carolina that allegedly contained “anti-semitic rhetoric” should be the basis for pulling federal funding from a consortium of university foreign language and studies programs.

In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Holding criticized the “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities” conference in March in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he says he saw “reports of severe anti-Israeli bias and anti-Semitic rhetoric at a taxpayer-funded conference.”