Following House Speaker John Boehner’s announcement that he will resign effective October 30, Congress is set to pass a Continuing Resolution, which will fund the government at current levels through December 11, 2015. The outlook remains uncertain beyond the December stopgap extension, and will depend in large part on the election of a new leadership slate in the House and the dynamic of rank and file members.
In addition to taking up federal government funding, this week the House passed the Higher Education Extension Act of 2015, which includes a one-year extension of the Federal Perkins Loan program, which is set to expire October 1. Unfortunately, despite a bipartisan Senate coalition in support of extending Perkins, the legislation was blocked in the Senate today when Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) requested unanimous consent to pass the legislation and the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), objected. Chairman Alexander cited his support for simplifying the federal financial aid system to “one grant, one loan” and his view that other federal loans offer students more favorable terms. Chairman Alexander also said that his committee is continuing to work on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act which will include consideration of Perkins and all other student aid programs.
APLU has urged the Senate to act on the House extenders bill.