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Snacks by Erik Peterson
NOV
17

POLICY
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ESEA conferees named, conference committee meeting set

By Erik Peterson

On Tuesday afternoon, the House of Representatives approved a motion to go to conference on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed House Republican conferees. Following passage of the motion to go to conference, the following Republican members were appointed to serve on the House-Senate conference committee:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce
  • Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Chairman, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  • Rep. David P. Roe (R-TN)
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
  • Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
  • Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK)
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  • Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appointed the following Democratic members to serve on the House-Senate conference committee:

  • Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member, Committee on Education and the Workforce
  • Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
  • Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
  • Rep. Susan Bonamici (D-OR)
  • Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
  • Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
  • Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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NOV
17

POLICY
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Update: ESEA conference committee expected to meet this week

By Erik Peterson

As we noted on Friday in an Afterschool Snack blog post, an agreement has been reached between the House and Senate on moving forward with naming an official conference committee to reconcile the differences between S.1177, The Every Child Achieves Act, and H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The content of the proposed framework is still being kept confidential; however, all indications suggest that it includes the language from S. 1177 reauthorizing and strengthening the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative.

Senate HELP Committee leadership posted a statement last Friday saying in part, “Because of the framework we’ve developed, we are optimistic that the members of the conference committee can reach agreement on a final bill that Congress will approve and the president will sign.”

The House Rules Committee has considered a motion to go to conference and may name House conferees as early as today. The Senate may name its conferees this evening or Wednesday morning. There are reports that the conference committee may start meeting on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET, during which time Members will have the opportunity to debate and offer amendments to a framework of recommendations from staff to complete a conference bill on ESEA. The goal will be for the conference committee to complete their work by the end of the week. The conference committee's work will be a public process and may be webcast.  

While there is no current bill language to review, the conference committee report is expected to reach the floor in both chambers in early December for a vote. The conference report will likely be made public after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Learn more about efforts to strengthen 21st CCLC here.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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NOV
13

POLICY
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Compromise ESEA reauthorization bill likely on the move, 21st CCLC reportedly included

By Erik Peterson

Washington, DC-based education trade press—such as Education Week and Politico—are reporting that House and Senate education committee chairs and ranking members have reached apreliminary agreement” on a compromise Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly No Child Left Behind Act) reauthorization bill that could be voted on by the full House and Senate the first few weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday. Furthermore, an ESEA conference committee could be announced early next week and a meeting of the committee could be held as well. Currently these reports are unofficial and have not been confirmed by the House or Senate education committees. 

Education Week is also reporting on the content of the agreement, stating that:

There's more consolidation in the compromise than there was in the Senate bill, including block granting of physical education, mathematics and science partnerships, and Advanced Placement. Some programs will live on as a separate line item, including the 21st Century Community schools program [sic], which pays for afterschool programs and has a lot support on both sides of the aisle…So did a wrap-around services program that shares some DNA with both Promise Neighborhoods, as well as a community schools program that Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, really likes. (Hoyer's support was critical to the survival of that program.)

The Afterschool Alliance has not yet confirmed that the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative or Full Service Community Schools is included in the proposed compromise bill. As a reminder, the bipartisan Senate ESEA bill, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) included language that strengthens and supports 21st CCLC while the House version, the Student Success Act (HR 5) eliminates 21st CCLC. 21st CCLC provides almost 2 million young people with access to quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs delivered through local school-community partnerships.  More than 670 local, state and national organizations signed a letter to education committee leadership calling for the Senate 21st CCLC language to be included in the compromise bill. Additionally, it is rumored that the STEM program in the Senate bill which included strong afterschool STEM language, was unfortunately consolidated into a large block grant, however that too has not been confirmed.

While we are encouraged by the media reports that 21st CCLC is in fact included in the new ESEA agreement, we reserve judgment and anxiously await the agreement and conference report. Check back here for updates, and learn more about 21st CCLC and ESEA reauthorization here.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA
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NOV
4

POLICY
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Budget deal passes; spending bill on the horizon

By Erik Peterson

Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which was based on a negotiated agreement to raise federal spending caps and extend the debt ceiling. This marked the first of three hurdles toward avoiding a government shutdown. With that top-level budget deal now the law of the land, work has begun by House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership on a fiscal year 2016 spending bill (or bills) to fund the federal government after the December 11th deadline, when the current continuing resolution expires.

The next important step in the appropriations process will be taken by House and Senate appropriations subcommittee chairs and full committee chairs, as they divvy up the $33 billion in non-defense discretionary (NDD) sequestration relief across the 12 appropriations subcommittees.

These so-called 302(b) allocations assigned to each subcommittee will largely determine the fate of the individual agencies, programs, projects, and activities funded by the government. While current legislation already authorizes spending amounts for programs, only the appropriations process can ensure those programs receive their designated funding. Sufficient 302(b) allocations for the Labor Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) and Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) subcommittees, for example, increase the chances of full funding for programs that support afterschool, summer learning, juvenile justice and informal STEM education programs.

Once 302(b) allocations are set, likely in the next several days, the appropriations subcommittees will get to work re-writing appropriations bills, which will ultimately be compiled into an omnibus bill as the final hurdle. Again, the goal is to pass an omnibus bill before the continuing resolution expires on December 11. 

It is important to note that the threat of a federal government shutdown still looms large. The President has made it clear he will not sign legislation that contains harmful “policy riders” that undermine his priorities. And, while all 187 Democrats and 79 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Bipartisan Budget Act in late October, a significantly large number of Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against it, signaling they may not support an omnibus bill.

Friends of afterschool can weigh in with their members of Congress in support of funding programs that provide quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities to young people.  

 

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learn more about: Budget Congress
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OCT
27

POLICY
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Proposed bipartisan budget deal could maintain investment in education programs

By Erik Peterson

Close to midnight last night, congressional leaders and White House officials announced they had reached an agreement to raise federal spending caps and extend the debt ceiling. Called the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015,” it appears the negotiated proposal would:

  • Divide spending increases equally between defense and nondefense programs for the next two years, fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017.
  • Provide $33 billion in Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) sequestration relief in FY 2016.
  • Provide $23 billion in NDD sequestration relief for FY 2017.
  • Extend the debt ceiling until March 5, 2017

Raising the caps on NDD spending opens the door for maintaining or increasing the federal investment in education programs including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), both critical in supporting local school community partnerships that provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children.

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SEP
30

POLICY
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Update on the FY2016 temporary spending bill

By Erik Peterson

With the current 2015 federal fiscal year (FY2015) due to end at midnight on September 30, Congress is working on efforts to pass a temporary continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through December 11th of the upcoming FY2016 which will keep the government open two and half months into FY2016. 

This morning, the Senate voted on a so-called “clean” CR, which passed by a vote of 78 to 20. Following that vote, the House of Representatives is expected to vote late Wednesday to clear the CR for the President's signature, ensuring federal programs remain funded and in place for two and a half additional months.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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SEP
10

POLICY
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More than 2,500 groups tell Congress to avoid fiscal meltdown

By Erik Peterson

The Afterschool Alliance joined more than 2,500 other national, state and local organizations for veterans, teachers, scientists, law enforcement, women's rights, transportation safety and others to call on Congress to avoid America’s next great budget crisis.

Funding levels for programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which provides quality learning opportunities for 1.6 million children when school is out, were not cut (and in fact increased slightly) the past two years under the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget deal signed in December 2013. 

That agreement is set to expire on October 1st with the beginning of the 2016 federal fiscal year, meaning that 21st CCLC and hundreds of other nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs—ranging from education and job training, to housing and science, to natural resources and veterans services, to public health, safety and security—are once again on a crash course to disaster as the true impact of sequestration will be felt by millions of Americans from all walks of life.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
7

POLICY
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1,500 organizations from all 50 states endorse Summer Meals Act

By Erik Peterson

Photo via USDA.

As the Senate Agriculture Committee develops its child nutrition reauthorization bill, the Afterschool Alliance has joined the Food Research and Action Center and more than 1,500 national, state, and community-based organizations in calling for strengthening the Summer and Afterschool Nutrition Programs. The 1,500 groups representing every state endorsed the bipartisan Summer Meals Act (S. 613), following up on a letter sent earlier this week by out of school time provider groups to support the same legislation.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up its Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill on September 17. The Afterschool Alliance’s top priorities for reauthorization include strengthening the Summer and Afterschool Nutrition Programs and bolstering their capacity to ensure children stay well-fed and learning when school is out. The bipartisan, bicameral Summer Meals Act of 2015, introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA), would increase access to nutritious meals when school is out by:  

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Legislation Nutrition Summer Learning
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