NAICU Washington Update

HEA Extended for a Month as Conference Continues

House and Senate higher education committee staff have been meeting furiously for weeks to iron out differences on the House and Senate versions of the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bills.  There have been few leaks on what the staffs have been discussing or deciding – a sure sign that progress is being made and comradery is high.  Leaks typically happen when the atmosphere in conference is disagreeable and disgruntled staff want to upset the process.

Although conferees have not yet been formally appointed, most of the differences in education bills are typically worked out among staff for the various members of Congress.  Then when a compromise looks possible, formal conferees can quickly be appointed, and a brief meeting among members can handle any legislative formalities and seal the deal.

_x000C_In the meantime, the existing HEA – due to expire on March 31 –  has again been extended, this time until the end of April.  Congress is on recess the last two weeks in March, and needed to pass the extension before leaving town.  The extra time allows staff members to continue their work on resolving the differences between S. 1642 and H.R. 4137

This is the third Congress in which members have tried to reauthorize the HEA, which was last reauthorized in 1998.

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