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Bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law; Democrats’ massive policy agenda bill clears U.S. House; possible government shutdown looms

Last week was a busy week in Washington, DC.  On Monday (11/15), President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into law and on Friday (11/19), the House passed the $1.75 Trillion “Build Back Better Act,” which now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

That being said, however, the first order of business when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break will almost certainly be the immediate need to deal with FY2022 appropriations since the stopgap measure currently funding the federal government, known as a Continuing Resolution, expires on Friday, Dec. 3. That will be followed closely by an urgent need to raise the federal debt ceiling to avoid a default on interest owed on federal borrowing. (more…)

$1.2 Trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill clears U.S. House, heads to President’s desk

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 228-206 on Friday to pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which now heads to President Biden, who has indicated he will sign the bill into law “soon.”

Thirteen 13 Republican House members and all but six House Democrats voted in favor of passage of the bill.  The U.S. Senate had passed the bill by a 69-30 margin back in August. (more…)

U.S. Departments of Education and Treasury to host joint webinars on using COVID-relief funds to address school staffing shortages

The U.S. Departments of Education and Treasury will jointly hold a two-part webinar series entitled “Using American Rescue Plan Funds and Other Federal Supports to Address State and Local Teacher and School Staff Labor Shortages”  on Wednesday, Oct. 27 and Thursday, Oct. 28 from 3-4 p.m. (Central Time).

The Oct. 27 webinar (Webinar 1) will focus on teacher and substitute teacher shortages. (more…)

U.S. Education Dept. announces official American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding allocations

Today (3/17) the U.S. Department of Education announced funding allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) for all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

The announcement includes a table outlining the individual funding amounts that will be distributed to each state.

These allocations are from the $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding 

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House of Representatives moving forward with additional federal pandemic relief package

Last week, several U.S. House committees finalized their respective pieces of a $1.9 trillion federal pandemic relief package modeled on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. These efforts are part of a wider “budget reconciliation” process that would allow Congressional lawmakers to advance this legislation with simple majorities in both chambers (i.e., the House and Senate.)

As part of this effort the House Education and Labor Committee last week approved nearly $128 billion in additional emergency aid for preK-12 education on a party line 27-21 vote.  The Committee also released preliminary estimates regarding education funding in the proposed bill, including a state-by-state breakdown

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JFC directs $65 million in federal funds to districts in proportion to hours of in-person instruction

JFC directs $65 million in federal funds to districts in proportion to hours of in-person instruction

In what may well be an harbinger of a potentially contentious budget struggle over public school funding, the powerful GOP-led Joint Finance Committee (JFC) yesterday voted down, along party lines, a DPI plan to equitably distribute roughly $65 million in federal Coronavirus relief funds to schools (see previous blog post) and replace it with a plan that directs the funding to districts based on the extent to which they are providing in-person instruction.

Wisconsin state statute gives the JFC authority to review and object to the distribution of federal funds by the DPI if they reflect an increase of 5 percent or more above the federal funds indicated in the Chapter 20 appropriations schedule. No vote of the full Legislature nor approval by the governor is required.  

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