Legislative Activity

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization

Both the House and Senate versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are expected to hit the floors of their respective chambers this week. While it now appears likely that both pieces of legislation will be considered before the August recess, it is less apparent what the outcome will be. House leaders’ expected strategy is to pass their bill (HR 5, Student Success Act) this month with mostly Republican votes – after a few more conservative amendments are allowed during floor consideration, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday. The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of its more bipartisan measure (S 1177, Every Child Achieves Act of 2015) on Tuesday, where a robust and lengthy debate is likely to occur.

Once each chamber passes its bill, the measures are expected to go to conference later this fall. A combination of Democratic and Republican votes will be needed to approve any final legislation from the House-Senate conference committee. To pass a bill that will be signed by the President and enacted into law, House Republican leaders must convince a majority of their Republican colleagues to support a final bill, which has proven difficult thus far, even with the current more conservative House version. Whether House Republicans choose to accept a more bipartisan bill or allow the reauthorization to stall remains to be seen.