118th Congress began in turmoil as Republicans failed to select a candidate for Speaker of the House after five ballots over two days.No speaker was chosen on the first ballot since 1923 is the first time. The speaker’s absence has paralyzed the House, delaying choices on who will head committees, including the House Education and Labor Committee, which Republicans are expected to rename Education and Workforce, following their practice since 2010. .
The leading candidate for chair is Rep. Virginia Fox, representing North Carolina, who chaired the committee from 2017 to 2019 and was a most recent ranking member. Last December, Fox secured a waiver that could circumvent Republican term limit rules to lead the committee again. But Fox has competitors. Michigan representative Tim Wahlberg also threw his hat into the ring.
If Fox chairs the committee, it will be easier to predict what Fox will do, said Craig Lindworm, vice president for political affairs at the Association of Public Universities and Land-Grant Universities.
“Virginia Fox used to chair that committee. She’s known to the world of higher education,” he said. “Congressman Wahlberg does not have extensive public records on these matters.”
Lindwarm believes that the committee chaired by Foxx is focused on higher education. Foxx is a former university administrator who previously introduced several higher education laws, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 2017.
“Virginia Fox has a very deep interest in higher education,” Lindworm said.
But she and other committee chairs are expected to struggle to find common ground with the Senate Democrats who dominate the committees on health, education, labor and pensions.
“How much legislation can they advance? Probably not much,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at the American Council on Education.
Instead, Hartle thought the focus would be on holding solemn investigative hearings to embarrass the Biden administration.
“The effort is to highlight questionable decision-making, illegality, conflicts of interest, and all-around bad behavior by the regime in power,” Hartle said. I will look into any issues that may arise.”
Such issues include the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program, Title IX for transgender students, free speech on campus, critical racial theories, and spending on COVID-19 relief funds. It is expected that
Some experts harbored hopes that there might be room for a narrow bipartisan consensus on certain issues.
Dr. Sosanya Jones, Associate Professor of Education, Howard University, said: “I think they need to work on it.”
One possibility to do so could be legislation requiring clearer language in the provision of financial assistance. This is a response to a Government Accountability Office report commissioned by Foxx, which shows that few universities are following best practices in communicating with students.
Pressure to win back young voters who turned against Republicans in the midterm elections could lead to agreement on the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program to resolve the uncertain situation for some illegal immigrants, Jones said. I thought there was
“Republicans need to be more conscious of how they appeal to young people,” Jones said. “They would have to show some kind of olive branch.”
Jones also said that Republicans, who have emphasized workforce development, have increased funding for community colleges and passed the Ignite HBCU and MSI Act, which establishes funding for these schools to improve campus facilities over the long term. I had hopes that I might work to get it passed. .
“It’s possible,” said Hartle, but the devil is in the details.
“It’s easy to see Republicans saying they want to help HBCUs and MSIs at this level. It’s not worth it.’ It’s easy to imagine saying, ‘There are many obstacles to enacting laws in a highly politicized environment.’
But Hartle believes that the biggest barrier to legislative achievement is intraparty disagreements within the Republican Party.
“It’s not just Republican versus Democrat, it’s Republican versus Republican versus Democrat,” he said. “From the chess game he moved to three-dimensional chess.”
It seems difficult to keep the party together, especially given the problem with speaker selection. It could be a unique parliamentary term.
“Anytime you start with something you haven’t seen in 100 years, it probably shows a lot. [to come] It’s something we’ve never seen before,” says Hartle. “Stay tuned. It will be very interesting to watch.”
Jon Edelman can be contacted at: JEdelman@DiverseEducation.com.