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The 116th Congress is here: What afterschool advocates need to know (Part I)

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The 116th Congress is here: What afterschool advocates need to know (Part I)

As January winds down and the partial government shutdown on hold at least until February 15, it is a good time to look at the new 116th Congress: what are the priorities, what might get accomplished, and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead from the afterschool advocate’s perspective. Part one below provides an overview of the 116th; next week, part two will cover the afterschool policy opportunities we see in the months ahead.

The 116th: Lay of the land

The 116th Congress officially began January 3 with the election of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and swearing in of members in both chambers of Congress. The 116th Congress began on the 13th day of the partial government shutdown resulting from seven FY2019 spending bills not yet being signed into law, which became caught up in the disagreement with the White House over border protection funding. While the shutdown dominated much of the first month of the first session of Congress, leadership positions and assignments to committee took place. With regard to education, as expected Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) assumed the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) remaining as Ranking Member. A listing of the new Education Committee membership for the 116th Congress includes new House Democrats with ties to the afterschool community with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Susie Lee (D-Nevada). Omar served as an afterschool VISTA in 2012, while Lee previously directed Communities in Schools in Nevada as well as the Nevada chapter of After-School All-Stars. The House Education and Labor Committee officially started its work on January 29, announcing subcommittee chairs and ranking members

Long time House Afterschool Caucus Co-Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) takes over as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, with Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) serving as Ranking Member. Afterschool champion Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) will chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) with Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) remaining as Ranking Member. These committees will control the purse strings for education programs. See the list of new members of Appropriations here.

On the Senate side, leadership of the education and appropriations committees will not change, with Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) continuing to lead the Senate HELP Committee while Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) will continue to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) will continue to be led by Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The Appropriations Committee membership did not change in the Senate however, three new members were added to the HELP Committee: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada).

Challenges ahead

A crucial priority and challenge for both chambers early on in 2019 will be addressing the remaining FY2019 spending bills and border security to prevent another partial shutdown in mid-February. Beyond that other challenges are looming, including the return of the sequester and the FY2020 drastic spending caps that would mean a $55 billion cut to non-defense discretionary spending. Experts predict as well that the debt limit will need to be raised this spring. The pressure of a large budget deficit and potential automatic spending cuts driven by the sequester will make advocating for maintaining the federal investment in education and afterschool a critical priority. The Afterschool Alliance is working with a number of coalitions on these spending issues, including the NDD United coalition which is circulating a sign-on letter urging Congress to quickly negotiate a new budget agreement to avert the deep cut to non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending that would occur under the existing discretionary spending caps in FY2020.

In the immediate future, the president’s State of the Union speech has been rescheduled for the evening of February 5 and will likely include some of the administration’s broad budget priorities. As a reminder, the administration’s previous two budget requests cut the Department of Education funding by about 11 percent and proposed to eliminate funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the primary federal support for local afterschool programs. The administration has not yet announced a new date to release its budget, which had been expected on February 4 but will be delayed due to the 35-day government shutdown. The president’s budget will likely now be released in early to mid-March.

Issues and priorities

House Democrats have discussed key priorities for the 116th Congress, including increased transparency, accountability, and oversight of the Executive Branch, as well as a focus on infrastructure and healthcare. Recent media reports point to an introduction this week by Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), Rep. Scott and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) of their new iteration of last Congress’s “Rebuild America’s Schools Act.” The legislation would support investing $100 billion over ten years in school infrastructure, including digital access. With a few exceptions, the federal government currently does not fund school construction and modernization.

Other priorities for the House Education Committee include rigorous oversight of the Department of Education and ESSA implementation with a particular focus on state plans that do not pay enough attention to underserved students; Higher Education Act reauthorization; Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and possible movement on the Child Care for Working Families Act H.R. 3773 (115) which would create a federal-state partnership that aims to ensure that families making less than 150 percent of their state's median income do not pay more than 7 percent of their income on child care. Reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs and the Corporation for National and Community Service (which manages the AmeriCorps and VISTA programs) is also a possibility. Recent reports suggest that the Senate HELP Committee is expected to tackle CAPTA reauthorization and the Higher Education Act reauthorization as their main priorities for the calendar year.

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/09/21

Draft Child Care Plans for 2022-24 boast strong examples of school-age policy

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Guidance on $15 billion in Supplemental Child Care Funding released, including opportunities to increase staff wages

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Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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ARP Webinar Series Recap: How to access ARP funds for afterschool and summer

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BY: Maria Rizo      07/26/21

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week the House of Representatives continues the FY 2022 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On July 12 the House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2022...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

American Rescue Plan ESSER III afterschool and summer implementation update: States efforts, new tools, and more

Since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law on March 11, 2021, state education agencies (SEAs) have been working to maximize the impact of the $122 billion in federal education funds to support students impacted by the pandemic.  While SEAs have until June 7, 2021, to...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

Bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 introduced

Last week, the bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 was introduced in an effort to ensure every young person in America has the skills needed to graduate from high school and be well-prepared for success in education, career and life. The legislation would provide funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/24/21

The Biden administration’s American Family Plan – what it means for afterschool

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/21

Bipartisan CORPS Act re-introduced in Senate

Last week, a bi-partisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation to strengthen national service opportunities, particularly in responding to COVID-19. The Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/23/21

Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      04/13/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      04/12/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/06/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

ARP ESSER state plans are in! More funds are hitting the ground at the state and local level

With the 2021-2022 school year in full-swing, the federal American Rescue Plan relief funds are making important impacts in states and communities. At this point, all 50 states have submitted their Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) plans. The Department of Education is...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/11/21

49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico submitted ARP state plans, 37 approved (Part 4)

As summer officially turned to fall this month, almost all states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now submitted their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education, and...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/01/21

New learning loss recovery guidance and survey data suggest strong role for afterschool

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/09/21

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

Approaches to supporting afterschool and summer in state plans for education relief spending (Part 2)

An advantage of a country made of states, territories, and tribal lands is the amount of innovation across boundaries that can help us learn from one another. This blog is the second in a series on the state American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

State ARP plans: Supporting afterschool and summer enrichment (Part 1)

It has been more than one month since state education agencies were asked to submit their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education. To date, the Department has posted state...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/09/21

Draft Child Care Plans for 2022-24 boast strong examples of school-age policy

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BY: Jillian Luchner      07/01/21

Child Care Stabilization Grant Program guidance offers many school-age opportunities

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/27/21

Largest influx of Child Care Development funds in history available for school-age care

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)  provides funding for low-income families in the workforce to have access to quality, accessible child care for their children ages 0-13. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), in recognition of the important role of child care for American...

BY: Jillian Luchner      03/24/21

What could the Build Back Better Act mean for afterschool and summer learning?

This week the House of Representatives finished work at the Committee level on the Build Back Better Act legislation that invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. The bill is progressing on...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/17/21

Appropriations, budget resolutions, and infrastructure—oh my!

Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/21

American Rescue Plan ESSER III afterschool and summer implementation update: States efforts, new tools, and more

Since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law on March 11, 2021, state education agencies (SEAs) have been working to maximize the impact of the $122 billion in federal education funds to support students impacted by the pandemic.  While SEAs have until June 7, 2021, to...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

The Biden administration’s American Family Plan – what it means for afterschool

In late April, President Joe Biden released the American Families Plan, the second part of an overall infrastructure proposal and a complementary piece to the American Jobs Plan. Congress is now holding bipartisan conversations to identify infrastructure priorities. The American Families...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/21

President Biden offers FY 2022 budget proposal

On April 9, the Biden administration released their preliminary (or “skinny”) FY 2022 discretionary budget request which includes topline appropriations levels for each agency as well as key spending priorities. With regard to education, the proposal includes historic funding requests...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/13/21

Biden administration proposes infrastructure plan including funds for schools, child care

In late March the administration announced the first part of its Build Back Better infrastructure plan. Called the American Jobs Plan, it would invest more than $200 billion in education and education-related infrastructure, including $100 billion for school construction and modernization, $12...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/12/21

American Rescue Plan: How will the funds flow? What do I need to do?

The American Rescue Plan provides $500 billion that can be used in part to support young people during the hours they are out of school. Funds specifically available for afterschool and summer programs in the Plan include:  $8.45B available from SEAs, including:  $1.22B...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/12/21

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

On Thursday, January 15, President-elect Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package called the American Rescue Plan which is described as “…the first step of an aggressive, two-step plan” to “change the course of the pandemic, build a bridge towards economic...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/20/21

President-elect Biden nominates Connecticut Education Commissioner Cardona for Sec. of Education

This week U.S. President-elect Joe Biden selected Connecticut education commissioner Miguel Cardona to serve as secretary of education. Commissioner Cardona is a former fourth-grade public school teacher who became the youngest principal in Connecticut and, later, an assistant superintendent of...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/23/20