DC Digest – March 21, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • AHCA Gets Amends
  • DeVos Defends Trump Budget 
  • Schools Fight for DACA
  • House Hearing on Federal Aid
  • HHS Rolls Back LGBT Research


House Republicans have rolled out amendments to their plan to replace the ACA. One change would let states enforce a work requirement for some Medicaid beneficiaries. It would also allow states to choose a block grant for Medicaid — which comes with a set amount of funding for the whole state — rather than per-capita funding. The revised plan would also allow individuals to deduct a higher amount of their health care expenses come tax season.

The House is preparing for a highly anticipated vote on the bill March 23.

Key Republican “Not Sold”

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the chairman of a key House committee that writes federal spending legislation, told constituents Monday that he is “not sold” on the Republican health insurance plan, and he needs to see details of President Donald Trump’s plan for building a wall along the Mexico border before he would fund it. Frelinghuysen said he did not expect Congress would support several of the proposed cuts, including NIH, NEA, and the NEH.

Frelinghuysen-berg Uncertainty Principle


Days after the Trump administration released a budget blueprint that called for 13.5 percent cuts to the Education Department, Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered two substantially similar, anodyne speeches at different gatherings of state and local education leaders on Monday without taking questions from the audience or the media.

Devos will also no longer testify before House appropriators on Wednesday after the OMB warned agency officials against discussing specifics not laid out in the blueprint.


Duke joined more than 500 colleges and universities and 1,200 teachers have signed letters urging President Donald Trump to say whether or not he’ll preserve an Obama administration program that protects more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Education Strikes Back

For Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering Ravi Bellamkonda’s view on immigration and the value of an open and accessible academic environment, see below.

Confronting and Overcoming Bias


The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing today, March 21 on “improving federal student aid to better meet the needs of students.” On the witness list: JoEllen Soucier, executive director of financial aid at the Houston Community College System; Kristin Conklin, partner at HCM Strategists, a consulting firm; Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, vice-provost of enrollment management at UCLA; and Matt Chingos, senior fellow at the Urban Institute.

Shouts and Murmurs


The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is voicing concern after Health and Human Services officials said last week they would no longer collect information on LGBT participants for a national survey of critical programs for older adults. The advocacy group said the report helps the agency evaluate programs that serve people with disabilities.

“Although research indicates LGBT people face significant barriers in accessing such services, HHS said collecting data on LGBT people was ‘unnecessary,'” NCTE said.