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Federal Legislative Report 115-05

Delivered via email: June 20, 2017


A vote is expected within the next two weeks on the Senate’s version of a health care bill, also discussed as a repeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. The House passed their version on May 4. The Senate version has mostly been negotiated behind the scenes; however, before any vote is taken in the Senate, an independent analysis must be done of the language by the Congressional Budget Office.

Illinois school districts currently receive $144 million in Medicaid reimbursements to provide medical care and special education services for students. These services include the work of professionals such as speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, and reimbursement for costly supplies and materials. The House version contained language jeopardizing Medicaid funding in schools (see FLR 115-02 and 115-03), and it is assumed the Senate language will contain the same.

Please contact Senators Durbin and Duckworth and ask them to oppose provisions that place arbitrary caps on how much Medicaid funding a child receives. Also, let them know the services you provide in your district that will be at risk if those funds are not available.

Senator Durbin:   202/224-2152

Senator Duckworth:   202/224-2854


The House is expected to vote on the reauthorization of CTE this week.   The reauthorization, H.R. 2353Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, passed out of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce by a unanimous voice vote in late May.

H.R. 2353 was introduced in early May by Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) with the goal of helping more students gain the knowledge, skills, and experience they need for success in careers and higher education. According to Committee members, the bill focuses on sustainable relationships among education, businesses, and other community stakeholders, including local industry or sector partnerships for continuous alignment of programs of study with skills in demand in each state, region, or local economy, which will help address what a number of employers have cited as a skills gap.

H.R. 2353 is similar to legislation for CTE reauthorization that the House passed last September by a vote of 405 to 5. The following changes from last year's legislation, however, are to address program effectiveness and other areas. The legislation includes provisions to:

  • Clarify that states are to set their performance targets based on the process described in their state plan.
  • Restrict the secondary "non-traditional" and "program quality" indicators to only CTE concentrators who have taken two sequential CTE courses. (A CTE "concentrator" is a student who has taken three courses across programs or two courses in the same program.)
  • Clarify that states are to consult with state-level stakeholders when revising ineffective performance improvement plans.
  • Reaffirm the responsibility of the U.S. Secretary of Education to provide technical assistance, monitoring, and oversight related to the implementation of revised performance improvement plans.
  • Revise the maintenance of effort (MOE) language to allow states to reestablish state CTE funding allocations in the program year immediately following implementation (States would be allowed some flexibility for MOE to "reset" their baselines one time to help those that have faced challenges with compliance. The limit on that reset is that the new state funding level would be at least 90 percent of the current funding level.)
  • Extend the deadline for the Secretary to review state plans from 90 to 120 days.

During the Committee's consideration of the bill, an amendment introduced by Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) to strengthen dual and concurrent enrollment programs for students was approved by a voice vote. The amendment would direct states to include such programs in their state CTE plans that are submitted to the U.S. Department of Education and recognize them for post-secondary credits.


At the end of May, the Trump Administration submitted its FY18 budget request to Congress, which provides greater detail about the policy goals referenced in the initial FY18 budget blueprint released in March. While the Administration would increase funding in Title I to promote school choice, the proposal would also eliminate several education programs and would target reductions in others. Overall, the $4.1 trillion budget proposal would redirect resources, including those for healthcare and after-school programs, to school choice through a $1 billion "Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success" (FOCUS) grant program.

One day after the budget request was published, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. She stated that the President's budget "fulfills his promise to devolve power from the federal government to parents and students" by the following:

  • giving students equal opportunity for a quality education;
  • strong support for public schools through long-standing formula grant programs; and,
  • maintain funding for key competitive grant programs with proven effectiveness in innovation.

For additional information see FLR 115-04.


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