This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending April 17

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Week Ending April 17

This week in immigration: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in case on administrative relief; Taskforce on New Americans releases recommendations; NCLR continues blog series featuring DACA recipients.

Update on lawsuits challenging executive action: This week, a panel of three judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the preliminary injunction halting the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) on April 17. The panel was announced earlier in the week leading some analysts to speculate that the two conservatives on the panel may vote to uphold the district court’s ruling. Advocates and families (including from NCLR Affiliates TIRRC, Latin American Coalition, and others) are gathering outside the courthouse to demonstrate support for administrative relief and to show that the president’s actions are in the best interest of the country.

White House Task Force on New Americans Releases Recommendations: On April 14, a Task Force that was created as part of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration in November released its plan to strengthen integration efforts. The Task Force solicited input from a wide array of stakeholders, including NCLR and its vast Affiliate Network.  Among the report’s key recommendations are enhancing the capacity of the AmeriCorps VISTA program to build more welcoming communities, promoting citizenship and naturalization through public awareness campaigns and direct outreach to eligible Lawful Permanent Residents, increasing access to housing, expanding Small Business Administration tools, and increasing access to English-as-a-second-language and early learning resources. The report also commits to launching a Welcoming Communities Challenge to encourage local governments to implement tailored integration strategies for their communities. “We are pleased with the Task Force’s initial set of recommendations to promote the successful incorporation of millions of new immigrants into the fabric of our society, and we are anxious to see them turned into action,” said NCLR Senior Legislative Analyst Victoria Benner. “While federal agencies and community-based organizations stand ready to do their part, ultimately we need Congress to pass bipartisan legislation like the New American Success Act and the private sector to step up in helping our nation meet this important challenge,” concluded Benner.

NCLR features DACA recipient Katherine Perez: This week’s installment of our ‘Living the American DREAM’ blog series features the story of Katherine Perez, who arrived from Colombia as a young girl and worked hard to do well in school. Her hard work paid off as she was able to continue her studies as a result of a private scholarship that allowed her to enroll at Montgomery College. She is a DACA recipient and as a result she now looks to her future with renewed hope and resolve. She has transferred to the University of Maryland College Park and is majoring in science. “I have a job and I am in the process of getting my driver’s license. I can now save money to pay for next semester and help out at home with the expenses. I feel more empowered and in charge of my life,” said Katherine.

Five Changes the New No Child Left Behind Makes for English Learners

By Brenda Calderon, Policy Analyst, Education Policy Project, NCLR

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This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously passed Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray  600-page bipartisan bill, the “Every Child Achieves Act” (ECAA) to make updates to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA, the nation’s largest federal K–12 law, best known as “No Child Left Behind,” has played a key role in providing aid to disadvantaged students from low-income communities.

Earlier this year, NCLR released its recommendations on Title III of ESEA, the provision dealing with English learners (ELs). As highlighted in our statistical brief, there are nearly five million ELs in the United States, 80 percent of whom are Spanish speakers. NCLR believes that having a strong federal role is important in getting ELs college- and career-ready. There are significant changes throughout the bill, but the changes highlighted here focus specifically on English learners.

  1. Accountability moved to state plans. Under current law, states receiving funds under Title III must hold schools accountable for increasing the number and percentage of ELs attaining proficiency along with other provisions. While this section of the bill was removed in the new version, all states are now accountable for moving ELs from the lowest levels of English proficiency to the state-determined proficient level and this criteria must be demonstrated in state plans.
  1. Eliminates Part B. No Child Left Behind offered a slew of competitive grant programs to enhance language instruction programs. These are nestled within the “Part B” section. It includes grants for professional development and funds for districts experiencing large influxes of immigrant children and youth. These programs were eliminated in the ECAA.
  1. New standardized entrance and exit procedures for ELs. Identification of ELs varies widely across and within states, meaning that a student may be identified as an EL in one district, but as a non-EL in another. The ECAA tries to remedy this by establishing standardized statewide entrance and exit procedures for students identified as ELs. It also sets a timeline for students to be assessed for EL status within 30 days of enrollment.

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  1. Evaluations removed. Under NCLB, entities that use Title III funds shall provide for an evaluation every two years that includes a description of the programs, progress of ELL students, the number and percentage of ELs meeting state academic standards, and other metrics. While this provision is no longer in the bill, the Secretary of Education must now conduct an evaluation of Title III programs.
  1. New categories of ELs. The ECAA creates reporting requirements on progress of two new EL categories: long-term EL and EL with a disability. A long-term EL is a student who has been in EL services for a minimum of five years. An EL with a disability is one who meets the criteria described in section 602 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

For more detailed information on changes to Title III please see our side-by-side.

Turning Our Backs on Pro-Work, Anti-Poverty Policies? Not on Our Watch.

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With Tax Day come and gone, millions of working American families are reassessing their budget priorities and thinking about how to cut expenses. Fortunately, an improving economy holds promise for some. However, for millions of hardworking taxpayers, the improving economy has still not reached their pocketbooks. In fact, more than 40 percent of Latinos earn poverty-level wages despite their hard work and immense contributions to the U.S. economy.

Given this outlook, it’s a wonder that any elected officials would turn their backs on successful tax policies that have lifted millions of working families out of poverty. The refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) have long received bipartisan praise and have been heralded as a resounding success. President Ford created the EITC and President Reagan expanded it, calling it “the best antipoverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure ever to come out of Congress.” President Clinton created the CTC and President George W. Bush increased it.

Together, these two tax credits have a positive track record worthy of boasting from both parties. The EITC and CTC both promote employment, as only people who work are eligible. There is evidence that the EITC was a major impetus in reducing single mothers’ unemployment in the 1990s. The EITC and CTC are also refundable, meaning that very low-income families can still earn a partial credit. After Congress expanded the CTC in 2009 to reach families making as little as $3,000 a year, 1.1 million people were lifted above the poverty line in 2013. Because of enhancements to the EITC that same year, 600,000 were put out of poverty in 2013. Plus, numerous studies have drawn links between the CTC and higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and higher college attendance.

taxday_sharegraphics1Yet, some members of Congress want to let vital enhancements to these credits expire at the end of 2017. If that happens, more than 16 million American workers with eight million children would fall into or even further into poverty. Latinos stand to lose the most from the expiration of these enhancements. Some four million Latino working families with nine million children could each lose an average of more than $900 a year. While $900 may not sound like much, to the average Latino working family, that can mean the difference between paying rent and not. 

Congress still has an opportunity to recognize the success of the refundable CTC and EITC and to come together to renew its promise to ensure that with hard work, families can stay out of poverty and sow the seeds for lifelong success. Given the stakes for the Latino community, policymakers can be sure that we will be holding them accountable for doing what’s right for working families.

Up Close with Two STEM Trailblazers

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Meet two NCLR staffers who have pursued their STEM passions

Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are as important as ever. Technology is advancing so rapidly that STEM jobs can’t be filled fast enough. According to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, between 2010 and 2020 employment in STEM careers will increase by 17 percent. As things stand, there are currently two science and tech jobs for every qualified candidate.

Latinos are going to need the skills required for these fields if we are to truly advance and be competitive in the global economy. Yet while Latinos compose 16 percent of the U.S. population, in 2010 just eight percent of STEM certificates and degrees were awarded to our community. There is certainly a need for Latinos to fill the void in STEM occupations, and NCLR is working vigorously to prepare as many Latino students as we can for STEM careers.

Of course, it helps that NCLR has staff who can speak from personal experience about the value of a STEM career. We are lucky enough to have two STEM trailblazers on our team: Oralia Mijares and Jonathan Marrero. Oralia serves in NCLR’s Texas Regional Office as Operations Manager. Jonathan works in our Washington, DC headquarters as Senior Manager of Digital. We asked them to share their stories and explain how they discovered their aptitude and passion for pursuing a STEM career.

A Chat with Oralia Mijares

Oralia providing hands-on support in building a geodesic dome with a some youth interested in pursuing STEM education.

Oralia providing hands-on support in building a geodesic dome with a some youth interested in pursuing STEM education.

NCLR: What specific programs allowed you to pursue your passion?

Mijares: One of my very first exposures to STEM was part of my high school experience. I attended the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy, which was heavily focused on science, engineering, robotics, and mathematics. I vividly remember assembling a robot—back then, we couldn’t program them! The pride and immediate gratification that emerged as a result of contributing to this project was pretty amazing. It was then that I truly understood the power of learning and how applying scientific methods could change our approach to thinking and problem solving. It was alluring.

NCLR: Can you talk about any of the people who provided you with the support you needed to succeed?

Mijares: My programming professor always assured me that there was nothing I could “break.” Through rigorous study, application, and practice, I could “make my applications do whatever I wanted.” I applied this methodology to just about everything I encountered. Knowing that there is a world of resources out there to help us solve everyday problems is encouraging.

Oralia_STEMBlog2NCLR: What advice do you wish you had received back in high school and would give now?

Mijares: Being a Latina and a female in technology, you are the two percent. It is imperative that you own that statistic and leave your insecurities at the door. Nothing compares to the excitement of solving a complex problem and utilizing technology to do it—none of this is possible if the thought of being unable to do something consumes your drive. There is equal opportunity for everyone to succeed in STEM, despite your background. If you’re willing to rise to meet the challenge, you can contribute to improving the world around you.

Some advice:

  • In the world of technology, there is always a new software or approach to learn. Ground yourself in the syntax and the rest will come easy.
  • Surround yourself with likeminded people and, when possible, learn from pioneers. Understand what they did to get to where they are and apply that to your situation. Don’t just sit at the table—contribute! Your ideas are important.
  • Make a road map, adopt it, apply it, live it, and most importantly, own it.
  • Know what ignites you and use that to light your world.

A Passion for Code

By Jonathan L. Marrero, Senior Manager, Digital, NCLR

Writing code is my passion. I did not realize it was my passion until fairly recently, but I’ve been at it ever since. I absolutely love the challenge and reward that comes from filling a blank slate with lines and lines of code. I only wish I were exposed to coding at a much younger age.

I’ve always had an interest in computers and technology. Growing up, I was the only one in my home who knew how to log into our desktop computer—this was back in the MS-DOS days. I recall spending hours digging through the many setup files and playing with the different programs. The interest in technology stuck with me through high school, though I was never formally introduced to computer science as a field until well into my adult life.

Fast-forward to 2007, when the Internet was growing at an immeasurable rate and social media—or new media, as it was called at the time—was still in its infancy. I was an organizer working in New Jersey. My interest in computers and the Internet was ever-present and my workflow showed it. I used Google Maps to cut turf for walk lists, Excel docs for tracking goals, and Gmail to communicate with my colleagues. It was at this point that I really began to wonder about the inner workings of web applications and how they were made. This was also the point when I started learning my first coding languages: HTML and CSS.

It wasn’t until I joined President Obama’s second campaign for president that I got real exposure to programming and development. I recall walking through the campaign headquarters in Chicago and staring at the computers of the developers on staff. I could tell they were writing some kind of code because it looked similar to HMTL and CSS, but I couldn’t understand any of it. I did, however, think to myself, “This is awesome!” I then realized that those developers were building the applications that were powering the campaign, similar to the developers who created the social media apps that powered my organizing work years before.

JM_STEMBlog2I later transitioned to the role of digital director for the state of Virginia, where I was fortunate to share an office with the state’s data director. In one of the many conversations he and I had, I mentioned that I was interested in developing and writing code, but I had no idea where to start. He gave me a bit of advice that would help me tap into a passion I didn’t know existed: “Try CodeAcademy.com.” I did. I was hooked from the first “Hello, World!” program that I wrote in JavaScript.

After spending a couple of hours on Code Academy that evening, I made the commitment to myself that I would learn to code after the campaign. I’m proud to say that I’ve stuck to that commitment. Not only am I currently pursuing my B.S. in computer science, I also write code as a hobby. I’m currently learning PHP with the hope of launching my first web app this summer.

For more information on NCLR’s STEM education programs, or to bring a program to your community, contact NCLR’s STEM Manager, Juliana Ospina Cano, at jospina@nclr.org.  Follow us on Twitter @NCLRSTEM and on Facebook for the latest news and information on our programs.

Living the American DREAM: Katherine Perez

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By Gabriela Gomez, Communications Department Intern, NCLR

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Katherine Perez, far right. Photo: Katherine Perez

When Katherine Perez arrived in the United States from Colombia in 2005, she had one goal in mind: to get a great education that would pave the way to a better life. Her parents made the tough decision to leave their country after her mom got a job offer in the United States, the “land of opportunity.” Yet soon after settling in, the Perez family was met with a harsh reality: the attorney overseeing their immigration case had fled the country, their paperwork and savings in tow.

Despite this setback, the Perez family was determined to move forward. Little by little, the family worked to rebuild their lives in Maryland. While her parents worked, Katherine poured herself into her schoolwork, taking honors courses in middle school and participating in the International Baccalaureate program at her high school. Though she thrived academically, her immigration status put her at an extreme disadvantage.

“I was very dependent on what my parents could help with and provide for me. [With] no money of my own, unable to drive and attend events and school programs—I felt as if everyone else my age was ahead of me, and I was falling behind every day more and more,” said Katherine.

When the college application period rolled around, the legal and financial barriers multiplied. It quickly became clear that the road to a college degree would be challenging and extremely costly.

With help from supportive mentors, Katherine obtained a private scholarship that enabled her to enroll as a full-time student at Montgomery College and work toward an associate’s degree. But economic difficulties at home meant she’d also have to juggle a part-time job to help support her two younger sisters.

As much as she tried, mounting pressures from school and work often led Katherine to question whether her degree was worth the hardship. Would the barriers of being undocumented ever be lifted?

Obama_SOTU3_resizedOn June 15, 2012, she got her answer by way of President Obama’s announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Though initially hesitant, Katherine set her fears aside, submitted her application, and hoped for the best.

Today, the 22-year-old DACA recipient is a student at the University of Maryland. Since receiving DACA, Katherine has found a steady job and transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science. Thanks to DACA, she now looks to her future with renewed hope and resolve.

“I have a job and I am in the process of getting my driver’s license. I can now save money to pay for next semester and help out at home with the expenses. I feel more empowered and in charge of my life,” said Katherine.

Though these stories echo the power of DACA, they also echo the voice of an immigrant community eager to contribute to the progress and prosperity of the nation. Eager to prove the narrative of the American Dream is alive and well, and within reach. Katherine would like to remind those in Congress seeking to repeal DACA: “Even though we were not born in this land, we have grown to love and respect the national symbols, and to pledge allegiance to the flag. We are here not to bleed out the country, but to make it a better one and to contribute to [its] well-being.”

The Economic Impact of Latino Workers: A By-the-Numbers Breakdown for Tax Day

Hispanic Americans are firm believers in the American Dream: hard work will earn you and your family a better life. Expected to make up much of the growth in the American workforce in the next four decades, Latinos are helping to revitalize communities and strengthen local economies all throughout the nation. Hard work however, is just one contributing factor to ensuring that the country remains prosperous. In order to support investments in education, infrastructure, health care, and many other areas that millions of Americans rely on, everybody must contribute financially through the tax system. Luckily for this country, Latinos are a tremendous asset thanks to their commitment to paying their fair share of taxes.

In honor of Tax Day, let’s take a by-the-numbers look at the economic impact that Latinos have on the U.S. economy.

Labor Force Participation

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Entrepreneurship and Purchasing Power

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  • Despite slower growth during the recession, the number of Hispanic-owned business was projected to grow by nearly 40% between 2007 and 2013, to nearly 3.2 million businesses.
  • In 2013, sales receipts for Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States totaled almost $470 billion.
  • Because the Latino population is comparatively younger than other racial and ethnic groups and the number of Hispanics in the United States is quickly growing, Hispanic purchasing power is also expected to grow to nearly $1.7 trillion by 2019.

Tax Contributions

Photo: http://401kcalculator.org, Creative Commons

Photo: http://401kcalculator.org, Creative Commons

  • In 2013, Hispanic households paid almost $124 billion in federal taxes, including individual and corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and excise taxes, and almost $67 billion in state and local taxes.
  • States with large Hispanic populations have also benefited from their tax contributions. Hispanic households accounted for 23 percent of state and local tax payments in Texas, 20 percent in California, 18 percent in Florida, and 15 percent in Arizona.
  • Tax contributions from Hispanic households also play a critical role in funding Social Security and Medicare. In 2013, Hispanic households contributed about $98 billion to Social Security and $23 billion to Medicare through payroll taxes. Many economists believe that tax contributions from young Latino workers will be the key to keeping the Social Security system strong.

Grants for Service-Learning Projects Available, May 1 Deadline

Red BG JPGThe State Farm ® Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is now accepting service-learning grant applications! Every year, the YAB offers grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to service-learning projects that create sustainable change in local communities across the country.

Schools and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply if they can show how it will impact student achievement in the public K-12 curriculum. Since launching eight years ago, the State Farm YAB has awarded more than $31.4 million in grants to various students and groups, impacting more than 18 million lives.

To be eligible, applicants must have a youth contact and an adult administrator. And, each grant request fall under:

Community Safety and Justice

  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Economic Inclusion and Financial Literacy
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Health and Wellness
  • Arts and Culture

Visit the State Farm YAB Facebook page and Twitter for more information about applying .

Applications are due May 1.

Weekly Washington Outlook — April 13, 2015

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill - Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill – Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House returns Monday from a two-week recess to consider six bills under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 299 – Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1259 – Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act (Sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1265 – Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 601 – Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1367 – To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands (Sponsored by Del. Amata Radewagen / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1480 – SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Financial Services Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following tax-related legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 1058 – Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1152 – IRS Email Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchant / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1026 – Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1314 – Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1295 – IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act (Sponsored by Rep. George Holding / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 709 – Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1104 – Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1562 – Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 1563 – Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

The House has also scheduled votes on additional financial services and tax legislation, subject to a rule:

  • R. 650 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 685 – Mortgage Choice Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 622 – State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1105 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)

Senate:

The Senate also returns Monday and will vote on a judicial nomination Monday evening. Later in the week, the Senate is expected to vote on House-passed legislation to reform the Medicare sustainable growth rate and extend CHIP authorization for two years.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Tuesday, President Obama will host Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House. The Prime Minister’s visit underscores the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq and the strong U.S. commitment to political and military cooperation with Iraq in the joint fight against ISIL. The president and prime minister will discuss a range of issues, including continued U.S. support to Iraq to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, the Government of Iraq’s actions to address the needs of the Iraqi people and to strengthen cooperation between all communities in Iraq, and advancing a broad U.S.-Iraqi partnership through expanded political, commercial, and cultural relations under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. In the evening, the president and first lady will invite music legends and top contemporary artists to the White House as part of its “In Performance at the White House” series. The event will pay tribute to the fundamental role gospel music has played in the American musical tradition and the important artists and repertoire that have marked its vibrant history.

On Wednesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, the president will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House in celebration of the eighth annual Soldier Ride. A cycling event to help Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being, the Soldier Ride also raises awareness of our nation’s Wounded Warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war. Afterward, the President will deliver remarks at a Champions of Change event highlighting issues important to working families.

On Friday, President Obama will host Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House. During their meeting, the president and Prime Minister Renzi will discuss support for Ukraine and continued U.S.-EU unity on pressuring Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to adhere to the Minsk agreements; the situation in Libya; and the need for the international community to continue efforts to counter ISIL and other extremists throughout the Middle East. They will also exchange views on economic developments in Europe, support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, climate change and energy security, and other issues of mutual interest.

Coming Up Next Week:

Nominations – After a two week break, it is still not clear how the Senate will move forward with consideration of a stalled anti-trafficking bill that has become mired in abortion politics. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly that the Senate must complete work on this legislation before he will move to confirm Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.

Health – The Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation that would permanently alter Medicare’s sustainable growth rate. This legislation also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. It passed overwhelmingly in the House on March 26. Senate Democrats, however, are hoping to have an opportunity to amend the bill to extend CHIP for four years rather than two years. Some have commented that their support of final passage is contingent on an amendment process. Elsewhere, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday on IRS challenges implementing the ACA.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee will begin marking-up a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill on Tuesday.  Last week, Senator Murray (D-Wash.) and Senator Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced they had reached an agreement to rewrite the law.  The compromise maintains annual statewide assessments, requires states to set rigorous goals, and includes English Learner language and academic proficiency in state accountability systems. However, the draft allows states greater flexibility in designing their accountability systems without clear guidelines of when states must intervene to address schools failing to meet the needs of specific groups of students. Additional details. In the House, there was speculation that H.R. 5 may be on the floor again this work period. This legislation was not listed in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s memo outlining the schedule for the next few weeks, suggesting it is still short of votes for passage. Elsewhere, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education Sucbommittee.

Immigration – Immigration Customs and Enforcemenet Director Sarah Saldana will appear on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee and Wednesday at the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Budget – As the April 15, statutory deadline looms for the House and Senate to agree on a concurrent budget resolution, negotiations between each chamber’s Budget Committees continue. The House and Senate are expected to formally name conferees this week. There is no penalty for failing to meet the deadline, whether by adopting a budget late or not adopting one at all. If no agreement is reached, each chamber can deem its resolution as binding on the spending and revenue bills that come later.

Financial Services – The House this week is voting on a series of consumer-related bills. Notably, H.R. 299 would allow privately insured credit unions to join the Home Loan Bank System and H.R. 1265 would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to comply with federal transparency laws (the CFPB is currently exempt along with the Federal Reserve system). Finally, H.R. 601 would exempt financial institutions from providing annual privacy notices to customers if no changes have been made. Elsewhere, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday “Examining Regulatory Burdens of Non-Depository Financial Institutions.” The hearing is likely to focus on a range of industry complaints concerning the CFPB, including efforts to regulate indirect auto lending and payday lending.

Housing – The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing Thursday, “Regulatory Burdens to Obtaining Mortgage Credit.”  In the House, members will vote on a number of housing-related bills. H.R. 1480 will be considered under suspension of the rules and would allow federal and state financial services regulators to receive information through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. Later in the week, the House will vote on H.R. 650. This bill would modify the Truth in Lending Act to change the definitions of high-cost mortgage and mortgage originator for the purposes of manufactured housing. The stated purpose is to ensure affordable credit for these loans, but consumer groups have voiced considerable opposition. Similarly, the House will also vote on H.R. 685 which would allow more mortgages to be classified as qualified mortgages under the CFPB’s QM rule. As with H.R. 650, consumer advocates are skeptical of this legislation.

Tax – April 15 is Tax Day!  To celebrate, the House will vote on a number of IRS oversight bills. The House will also vote on legislation to repeal the estate tax (H.R. 1105) and reinstate and permanently extend the state and local sales tax deduction (H.R. 622).