Editor’s note: This weekly update from the government relations office at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) provides the latest on what’s happening in Washington and how AACC is advancing policies to support community colleges and students. Send questions, feedback and more to: opens in a new firstname.lastname@example.org new email.
- opens in a new windowLabor-HHS-Education bill introduced on the House floor, Speaker’s race continues to impact funding progress
- opens in a new windowHouse Subcommittee to hold hearing on DOL overtime rule
- opens in a new windowCongressional Democrats urge Biden Administration to clarify SNAP eligibility for college students
- opens in a new windowFunding opportunities
On Friday, Robert Aderhold (R-Alabama), chair of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced the subcommittee’s opens in a new windowFiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024) funding bill. The bill – the same as the one opens in a new windowapproved by the subcommittee this summer – was introduced directly to the House floor to expedite the process and bypass markup by the full Appropriations Committee. However, the bill cannot come up for a vote before the full House until there is a new Speaker.
Following the historic vote to remove Kevin McCarthy (R-California) from his role as Speaker of the House, House Republicans have struggled to put forth a viable candidate for his replacement. Republicans initially threw their support behind House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana). As it became clear that he would fall short of the required 217 votes on the House floor, Rep. Scalise withdrew from consideration. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, became the nominee after winning a vote within the House Republican Caucus but failed to reach the required 217 mark in two consecutive votes.
Until the House elects a new Speaker, the chamber’s activity is effectively halted. The Speaker decides which bills are put on the floor for consideration and voted on by the full House. While the position is vacant, the House cannot pass any bills, including Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills or another short-term funding bill to keep the government open past November 17. While House appropriators can continue to work on FY 24 funding bills, the new Speaker will likely have new spending targets and policy priorities that they will want to see incorporated in those bills. For example, the new Speaker could choose to set funding levels for FY 24 at the amount agreed upon in the debt ceiling deal, or they could push for additional cuts.
On Thursday, it was reported that Rep. Jordan will not immediately seek a third vote and will instead support giving additional powers to current Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina). Jordan will remain Speaker-Designate and will be able to call for another vote to make him Speaker at any time. While many members of the far-right have already voiced their opposition to empowering McHenry, many Democrats have indicated their support for the plan.
Giving Rep. McHenry additional powers would allow some House business to continue as normal as Jordan rallies for the required votes. This would likely mean the House could pass another Continuing Resolution (CR) and consider aid to Israel and Ukraine. The outlook for FY 24 appropriations bills will likely remain murky until a permanent Speaker is selected.
Next Tuesday, House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chair Kevin Kiley (R-California) will host opens in a new windowa hearing on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new proposed overtime rule. The witness list has not yet been provided.
For review, DOL announced a opens in a new windowproposed increase to the salary floor for “exempt” employees in executive, administrative, and professional roles under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new threshold will be at least $55,068, up from the current $35,568. Based on the formula proposed by DOL, the floor is projected to be $60,209 by the time the rule goes into effect, and that floor would be automatically adjusted every three years. While the rule will not apply to faculty, it could be incredibly disruptive for community colleges who will have to reclassify other employees or increase their compensation.
On Wednesday, Congressional Democrats opens in a new windowsent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, asking the Biden Administration to offer additional guidance and clarity on the complicated rules governing student eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The members asked the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Education (ED) to clarify state flexibility to streamline eligibility for low-income college students enrolled in career-focused programs, eligibility rules for college students with disabilities, and the student work study exemption.
The letter – signed by twenty House and Senate Democrats, including House Agriculture Committee members Alma Adams (D-North Carolina), Jahana Hayes (D-Connecticut), Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Jim Costa (D-California), and Senate Agriculture Committee members Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico), and Peter Welch (D-Vermont) – also reiterated the need to improve and streamline student SNAP eligibility as part of the reauthorization of the Farm Billopens PDF file .
Applications are open for key community college funding opportunities:
- opens in a new windowStrengthening Community College Training Grants – Due November 14
For more detailed information on these issues, visit the Community College Advocacy Updates page on our website.