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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.

State tackles learning loss with new law on summer & afterschool STEAM engagement

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/18/21

House Education Committee approves additional education, learning recovery support

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Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

On October 26, 2020, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced S. 4868, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which is designed to expand access to supervised learning for students through the remainder of the...

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10 FAQs on the 21st CCLC "non-school hours" waiver

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House Education Committee approves additional education, learning recovery support

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Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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

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FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Two new Community School bills introduced in Congress this fall

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Supporting our Youth throughout COVID-19 and Beyond: Hill Briefing recap

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Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

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FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

On October 26, 2020, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced S. 4868, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which is designed to expand access to supervised learning for students through the remainder of the...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

10 FAQs on the 21st CCLC "non-school hours" waiver

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/30/20

Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/29/20

Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/16/20

21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in House

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/04/20

Department of Education to allow states greater flexibility through 21st CCLC waivers

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/03/20

Congress and the next COVID-19 relief bill – where do things stand?

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BY: Erik Peterson      08/19/20

Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

On October 26, 2020, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced S. 4868, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which is designed to expand access to supervised learning for students through the remainder of the...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

With October knocking on the door and the 2020 federal fiscal year winding down, legislative activity in Congress has heated up again. In particular it is a good time for an update on the appropriations process for federal fiscal year 2021 (FY2021) as well as an update on the status of a possible...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/29/20

Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

Just after noon on Sep. 16, the House of Representatives unanimously approved HR 8162, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020. The legislation provides much needed flexibility for the current 2020-2021 school year, allowing local afterschool programs...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/16/20

Congress and the next COVID-19 relief bill – where do things stand?

As we move into the second half of August we wanted to give you an update on the status of Covid-19 relief legislation negotiations in Washington, DC. The hope was that by this time, with many school districts starting to return for the new school year, a new COVID-19 relief bill would have already...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/19/20

New Senate bill tackles education and child care needs resulting from COVID-19

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/14/20

FY21 Appropriations process kicks off in the House

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/08/20

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/20/21

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

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/23/20

First glance: What a Biden-Harris administration may mean for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/19/20

Election 2020 – a first look at the results from an afterschool policy perspective

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BY: Erik Peterson      11/06/20

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/10/20

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/13/20

Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool, again

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/20

FY2020 appropriations update: Afterschool funding increased!

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/17/19

Afterschool and the 2020 presidential candidates

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/26/19

House appropriators propose substantial increase to 21st CCLC afterschool funding

Update: On May 8, the full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve the FY2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) and Related Agencies Appropriations Act by a party line vote of 30 to 23, sending the bill on to the House floor. The approved bill included several changes...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/01/19

State tackles learning loss with new law on summer & afterschool STEAM engagement

With the federal government working hard to get much needed relief funds to states, including for education to help stem some of the harshest effects of COVID, states as well recognize their essential role in recovery. On February 9, Tennessee passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and...

BY: Jillian Luchner      02/18/21

Two new Community School bills introduced in Congress this fall

For community school adherents, school has always had a central function as a hub of integrated student supports. The COVID health emergency has not only impacted how, where, and when education is delivered but also reinforced the idea of schools as a conduit for children and families to other...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/10/20

New brief released: State re-opening plans reveal importance of partnerships with afterschool across a broad range of goals

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/17/20

How states are using CARES Act funding to support afterschool & summer learning

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/24/20

How federal government funding is supporting child care in the states

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/12/20

State flexibility supports 21st CCLC ability to adapt to COVID Emergency

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash. As governors, state agencies, and school districts across the U.S. grapple with school closure decisions, the afterschool programs that provide out-of-school time academic support and the child care working parents need are also finding their...

BY: Jillian Luchner      03/24/20

New York City Council considers move to universal afterschool

Today, less than half of New York City public schools offer free city funded afterschool programs. City Councilman Ben Kallos, joined by parents and afterschool advocates, aims to change that. Last week, the New York City Council held a hearing to discuss bill 1100 introduced by Councilman...

BY: Chandler Hall      01/30/20

Vermont’s governor calls for universal access to afterschool programs

In his State of the State address to the Vermont legislature on January 9, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) outlined his 2020 legislative agenda, including a proposal to make K-12 afterschool programming more accessible to Vermonters through implementation of universal afterschool. In the speech, the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/28/20

Afterschool policy 2019: State legislative round up

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BY: Jillian Luchner      12/03/19

Fireman costumes to full-on careers: October is a big month to talk career and technical education

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/30/19