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Federal Policy Making….. Make Some Noise!

Federal Policy Making….. Make Some Noise!. Tami Sato, Southern CA College of Optometry Vicki Shipley, National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP) WASFAA Conference April 2009. Agenda. Process Overview and Key Players House Senate Administration

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Federal Policy Making….. Make Some Noise!

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  1. Federal Policy Making….. Make Some Noise! Tami Sato, Southern CA College of Optometry Vicki Shipley, National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP) WASFAA Conference April 2009

  2. Agenda • Process Overview and Key Players • House • Senate • Administration • Role of the Department of Education • Your Role and Responsibilities • Make Some Noise!

  3. Why Should You Care? • The majority of student aid is the product of and exists within some sort of political environment • National politics • State politics • Institutional politics • Understanding the basic concepts and structures can help you anticipate change and possibly influence the process

  4. Legislation vs. Regulation • Legislation • Congress adopts with Presidential signature or after overriding a veto • Amends the U.S. Code -- the “statute” (e.g., Higher Education Act) • Public Laws (111-XX)

  5. Legislation vs. Regulation • Regulation • Promulgated by appropriate federal agency • U.S. Department of Education for higher education programs • Reviewed by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) • Interprets and adds detail to statute • Amends Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.)

  6. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS(In a nutshell….so to speak!) • Authorization Legislation: Introduced by a Representative or Senator to Amend or Create a Federal Statute • Legislation assigned to “Committee(s) of Jurisdiction” • Chairman assigns to Subcommittee • Hearings held on major legislation • Higher Education Act to be “Reauthorized” every six years • AppropriationsLegislation: Sets Annual Funding Levels for Federal Programs (aka discretionary spending) via Budget Bills

  7. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS(It Takes Two To Tango!) • Other Chamber (House or Senate) Must Act -- Two Options: • Considers similar legislation at its own pace • Passes a bill that can be matched up with one passed by the other chamber • Differences must be reconciled before enactment is possible • Receives legislation after other chamber acts • May approve identical bill or make amendments • “Back & forth” process, until identical bill is approved

  8. What Happens in the Conference Committee? • Differences between the House and Senate versions are reconciled • Must be re-voted on again in each chamber • Sent to the President for signature • Pro: Differences are ironed out and compromises are reached • Con: Not a public process, seen by some as “undemocratic”

  9. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS(Final Action) • Conference Committee • Attempts to resolve differences between House and Senate-passed bills • Result is a “Conference Report” -- includes explanatory language and recommendations • Identical Conference Report must be approved by House and Senate before it can be sent to the President President signs or vetoes

  10. New Congress - 111th • Senate • Was 51 Democrats – 49 Republicans • Now 56 Democrats - 41 Republicans • Plus 1 Independent and 1 Independent Democrat • Minnesota race will be determined by courts • House • Was 236 Democrats -198 Republicans • One vacancy • Now 254 Democrats – 178 Republicans • Three vacancies

  11. Key Players: House George Miller (D-CA) Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) Ranking Member Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) Ranking Member Education & Labor Committee Higher Education, Lifelong Learning & Competitiveness Subcommittee

  12. Key Players: Senate Michael Enzi (R-WY) Ranking Member Edward Kennedy (D-MA) Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Ranking Member Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Children & Families Subcommittee

  13. Budget “Basics” • Congress controls the purse! • Budget committees formulate a budget resolution • Reconciliation instructions are optional • Reconciliation protects budget measures from parliamentary hurdles such as filibusters to ensure timely completion • Reconciliation instructions lead to the development of legislative changes to programs under the jurisdiction of the authorizing committees

  14. President’s 2010 Budget Proposal • Loan Proposals • Due to “turmoil” in the financial markets, the President’s budget requests that Congress end the entitlements for financial institutions that lend to students by eliminating the FFEL Program by 7/1/10 • Makes campus-based aid more widely available through a modernization of the Perkins Loan Program

  15. Budget Proposals--Higher Education • Pell Grants • Pell Grant = $5,550 maximum in 2010-2011 • Indexes Pell Grants to the Consumer Price Index plus 1% • Makes the Pell Grant program mandatory • College Completion & Access • Permanent $2500 American Opportunity Tax Credit • Create a new five-year, $2.5 billion Access and Incentive Fund to support low-income students graduate from college • Includes evaluation component to ensure best practices • Triples number of graduate fellowships in science

  16. Obama Vows Budget Fight For His Priorities • “With the magnitude of the challenges we face right now, what we need in Washington are not more political tactics – we need more good ideas. We don’t need more point-scoring – we need more problem-solving.” • Obama challenged his critics to offer “constructive, alternative solutions.” Source: CQ Today 3/17/09

  17. Budget Process –The Role of Congress • Budget Bills • House Bill • Includes reconciliation instructions to Education and Labor Committee to reduce budget by $1 B • Senate Bill • Does not include similar reconciliation instructions • Includes amendment by Senator Lamar Alexander • “to maximize higher education access and affordability by ensuring that institutions of higher education and their students are able to continue to participate in a competitive student loan program, in order to maintain a comprehensive choice of student loan products and services.”

  18. Budget Process –Citizen Impact on Congress • Senator Alexander’s Amendment was due to him hearing from constituents • Letters to the Senator from school groups • Expressions of concern to other members of Congress over the past few weeks • 1,000 phone calls • 1,200 faxes • 4,000 e-mails • Consumer Bankers Association electronic petition • 6,000+ signers

  19. New Department of Education • Arne Duncan -- Secretary of Education • Martha Kanter – Nominee for Under Secretary • Carmel Martin -- Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development • Marshall Smith – Special Assistant • Robert Shireman – Special Assistant • Dan Madzelan – Acting Assistant Secretary

  20. Negotiated Rulemaking (Neg Reg) Secretary of Education’s Responsibility • Advise Congress • Propose Legislation • Provide Technical Assistance • Assist with Constituent Issues • Regulates Where Needed • Enforces Laws and Regulations • Communicates with Interested Parties and the Public

  21. Negotiated Rulemaking (Neg Reg) • Required by the HEA (Section 492A) • All parts of Title IV – All the time • Goal: To develop Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that reflects a final consensus of the negotiating committee • Consensus: There must be no dissent by any member of the committee (includes ED) to have reached consensus

  22. Neg Reg Your Role During Neg Reg Know who represents your segment or interests Follow the issues (IFAP, NASFAA) Your Role After Neg Reg Review NPRM in Federal Register Respond within comment period Send Comments to Department of Education (see Federal Register) w/copy to: Federal Relations Committees NASFAA 22

  23. Keep Track of What’s Happening In DC • Read, read, read….. • Conferences and workshops • Networking • Listservs • Webinars • Web sites

  24. Be Heard! YOU ARE THE EXPERT! Stay in touch (Email, phone, in person) with your Congressional/State legislative members. Get to know their staff Be sure they know who you are, what you do and the students you serve – be a trusted resource Invite members of Congress/state legislature and/or their staff to tour your facilities Respond to NPRM’s Volunteer to be on state and WASFAA and NASFAA committees 24

  25. Put a Face on It! • Personalize sample/template letters • State how proposal(s) would affect your students • Provide student success stories • Develop a fact sheet for your college • Use stats and numbers

  26. Ten Tips for a Good Letter • Personalize your letter • Tell a story • What’s the impact on: • a student • your school • your office • your state • Use facts – politicians like numbers! • Use personal stationery (or send an email) • Thank them for their vote or position • Request a follow up letter

  27. Ten Tips for a Good Letter • Address it correctly The Honorable (name) United States (Senate or House of Representatives) Washington, DC 20510 • Send it to the appropriate office • Keep your comments short and to the point • Include contact information • Include an “ask”

  28. How do YOU get involved? • Know your stuff • Association advisories • Lender and guarantor updates • Other sources? • Make friends before you need them • Congressional staffers • Members of Congress • Communicate, communicate, communicate • Write a letter, make a call, send an email, smoke signals, tin cups with a string

  29. Thank You!


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