In this issue:
On Tuesday, the Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness Subcommittee in the House (Ruben Hinojosa, chair) will conduct a hearing on “Paying For a College Education: Barriers and Solutions for Students and Families.” As of this writing, witnesses were yet to be announced.
Wednesday the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Science, Technology, and Innovation Subcommittee will hold an informational hearing with recipients of the 2006 Nobel Laureates. The witnesses will discuss their work and the future of scientific research in the United States.
On Thursday, May 10, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on the Education Department’s oversight of both the Reading First Program the Department’s handling of the Student Loans situation. Secretary Spellings will be on the hot seat.
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During consideration of the FY2007 emergency supplemental appropriations conference report, House and Senate conferees included a one-year moratorium on the Medicaid proposed rule to limit Medicaid payments to government health care providers and significantly alter state financing mechanisms. The language also prevents the Administration from restricting Medicaid payments for graduate medical education, a proposal that had been included in the Administration's FY 2008 budget. While the overall supplemental bill will be vetoed by the President due to Iraqi War withdrawal language, it is anticipated that Medicaid moratorium language will be included in the next version.
Congressman McKeon, the House Education and Labor Committee’s Senior Republican, introduced the Financial Aid Accountability & Transparency Act, his version of legislation to reform disclosure for students and establish safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest in the student loan industry. His bill has four key components:
- Establishes financial aid codes of conduct;
- Requires disclosure of procedures used to create “preferred lender lists”;
- Strengthens disclosure for students; and
- Prevents conflicts of interest between lenders and financial aid officers.
The House Science Committee approved two key pieces of federal agency reauthorization last week. The committee approved $2.5 billion in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology for FY08-FY10. Separately, the committee reauthorized funding for the
National Science Foundation, with $6.5 billion for FY08, $6.98 billion for FY09 and $7.49 billion for FY10. Both bills are scheduled for a floor vote this week.
In related news, the Senate approved the America COMPETES Act, legislation that would increase research budgets at key federal agencies. The bill contains new funding authorization levels for both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy Office of Science and seeks to increase support for programs designed to improve K-12 math and science education (including language favorable to UTeach).
And, finally, this from the National Journal:
Education. Math and science education are the key to maintaining America's competitive edge, a team of Democratic lawmakers said today as they revived a legislative effort to improve education and research in the engineering and technological fields. "We need to encourage students as early as high school to think about teaching these subjects, "House Education and Labor Chairman Miller said at a news conference, pressing legislation that would offer scholarships to students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math who also agree to teach for five years. The plan, introduced by Miller and House Speaker Pelosi in 2005, would also expand Internet access to all areas of the country and encourage new developments in clean energy alternatives.
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