education

House Democrats push through measure to nullify Trump student loan rule
Democrats get only 6 GOP votes as effort moves to Senate

Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., is the sponsor of the Democratic measure to overturn the Trump administration's revamp of the Obama-era student borrower debt forgiveness rule. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday passed mostly along party lines a measure that would overturn a Trump administration rule rolling back protections for student loan borrowers, but the margin was well short of being veto-proof.

The joint resolution passed 231-180 with six Republicans joining 225 Democrats in favor. It now heads to the Republican-led Senate but must wait until after the presidential impeachment trial.

Road Ahead: Impeachment trial imminent and war powers debate continues
Pelosi ready to send articles to Senate this week

Speaker Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment action is bound for the Senate this week, ending the long standoff between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the framework of President Donald Trump’s trial. Pelosi intends to send the House’s articles of impeachment to the Senate and name impeachment managers, launching a trial that could begin before the week is out.

The impeachment articles, which the House approved in December, charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Rep. Mark Walker rips NCAA chief for meeting with Romney, Murphy at Senate
Player compensation talks off to ‘ignominious start,’ North Carolina Republican says

NCAA President Mark Emmert, center, and Sens. Chris Murphy, right, and Mitt Romney conduct a news conference on student athlete compensation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Dec. 17. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert received a warm welcome in the Senate on Tuesday morning. But that didn’t spare him withering criticism from Rep. Mark Walker, who called the meeting an “ignominious start” to player compensation discussions.

Emmert told Sens. Mitt Romney and Chris Murphy, members of a bipartisan working group on student-athlete pay, that he is “hopeful” that by next spring, the association will have “some clear indication of where the universities want to go on” player compensation.

Lawmakers unveil two mega spending packages
Health taxes to be repealed, tobacco age raised in year-end deal

From left, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., along with Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, not pictured, announced on Thursday that they had reached a deal on a spending agreement before government funding runs out at the end of this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Dec. 16 at 6:05 p.m.

House appropriators filed two mega spending packages for floor consideration Tuesday after hammering out last-minute details over the weekend.

After months of delay, DeVos touts limited student loan forgiveness plan
House Democrats press Trump's education chief over relief for defrauded students

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the Capitol in July, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sought to defend her department’s 18-month delay in processing rising numbers of student loan forgiveness claims, saying at a Thursday hearing that officials lacked a proper process to review them.

Roughly 240,000 claims remain outstanding as DeVos has sought to change the department’s process to allow students who have been defrauded by colleges to have their federal student loans canceled.

Appropriators seek to wrap up talks this weekend
But panel members acknowledge ‘hurdles’ as Dec. 20 deadline for bill passage looms

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, on Thursday said he was “more enthusiastic than I was a couple of days ago” that final negotiations on spending bills could be done this weekend. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Spending bill negotiators set their sights on wrapping up a year-end deal by this weekend, but they differed on how realistic that deadline might be.

With only two weeks left before current funding runs dry, appropriators are hoping to finalize work on all 12 spending bills and pass them by Dec. 20 to avoid another stopgap measure or possible government shutdown. But unless a deal comes together in the next several days, lawmakers have warned, there likely won’t be enough time to write the bills and move them through both chambers before the holiday recess.

The center of Mitch McConnell’s legacy-building
Political Theater podcast, Episode 103

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell uses the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center to hold discussions with his allies, adversaries and other dignitaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not shy about using his namesake McConnell Center at the University of Louisville as a platform for showcasing his allies, adversaries and his own ability to steer the national conversation.

Just this week, Kentucky’s senior senator and proud Louisville alumnus spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo, currently enmeshed in key elements of the Ukraine saga and the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, is McConnell’s preferred candidate to run for Senate in Kansas, where GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is retiring.

House Democrats advance federal student aid overhaul
Bill would expand grants, push back on Trump's for-profit schools agenda

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Rep. Bobby Scott, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. His panel approved a sweeping bill that would seek to address student debt, among other higher education programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Education and Labor Committee on Thursday voted 28-22 to approve a massive overhaul of federal student loans and other higher education programs that they touted as an overdue move to address the costs of higher education. 

The 1,165-page measure earned no Republican support at the end of a markup that began Tuesday. Among numerous other provisions, it would expand Pell Grants, tweak the Federal Work-Study Program, direct more aid to minority-serving institutions, emphasize campus safety and set several new requirements designed to impose tougher standards on for-profit colleges. It would also use federal aid to encourage states to offer tuition-free community college educations. 

Colleges squawk over endowment tax
Universities push to reduce impact — or scrap levy altogether

Colleges hit with a new endowment take are taking steps to minimize its impact. (Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

A provision in the 2018 budget law aimed at shielding a college in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky from new taxes hasn’t actually done that.

In comments filed on a Treasury Department-issued guidance on the new endowment tax last month, Berea College said it believed Treasury’s interpretation of the tax would force it to pay $1 million a year. The college is asking Treasury to reconsider before finalizing the rules.

Campus Notebook: Idahoans in Africa highlight congressional travel
The latest travelogue and interesting disclosures

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo, left, and James Risch  traveled to a well-known national park in Mozambique. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

This week’s Campus Notebook highlights senators who recently jetted off to Mozambique, Israel and France and a staffer who sold a bunch of stocks, including from the tech industry. 

Idahoans in Africa: Sen. Mike Crapo and his wife Susan joined Sen. Jim Risch and his wife Vicki for a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa and Mozambique. Crapo and his wife’s trip, paid for by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, cost $14,113. Risch and his wife’s trip, paid for by the same group, cost $13,758.