House Advances Reconciliation Package as Bill Approaches Finalized Form

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter  

The House on Friday, following a late night vote series, advanced legislation containing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which includes a $550 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award. The package was sent to the Senate along a 220-213 near party-line vote and will now require a simple majority of the latter chamber in order to reach the White House. 

“Today’s passage by the House of the Build Back Better Framework represents a resounding vote of confidence in America’s future and an unprecedented investment in our democracy,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said following the bill’s advancement, citing the package’s increased investments in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions and other institutions, as well as expanded access to affordable college through increasing the Pell Grant.

“We are excited about the historic investments to higher education contained in the Build Back Better Act, which will help expand postsecondary access to millions of students across the country,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “We look forward to Senate action on this legislation.”

House Democrats celebrated the passage and used leadership’s successful navigation of the narrowed pathway to call on the Senate to push the process forward and get a finalized version of Build Back Better to the White House.

“[The bill] lowers the cost of higher education by increasing the value of Pell Grants and investing in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other chronically underfunded institutions,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

No Republican has been in favor of the reconciliation process and since Democrats can rely solely on their members to clear the package, it is unsurprising that the minority has lambasted the drafting of the legislation.

“President Biden’s so-called Build Back Better bill is a travesty,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, in response to the House’s action. “This power grab simultaneously over burdens hardworking taxpayers and worsens our country’s inflation crisis — putting the American Dream further out of reach for many Americans.” 

Several procedural hurdles still remain, with Senate rules that could force members to make a number of revisions to the text and force the House to take an additional vote on an amended version.

Stay tuned to Today’s News as we follow developments concerning the next steps of the Build Back Better Act.


Publication Date: 11/22/2021

Deborah K | 11/23/2021 1:55:51 PM

Different Pell schedules for different types of institutions is disheartening. Not every person out there is made for a college or a university to attain an office job. Trade schools are just as important. At Pennco Tech we strive to help every student along the way to reach their career goals. The students are in need of the Pell due to higher tuition. We run labs, need large tools, car lifts, electrical wiring, stick houses.....a lot of expensive equipment to ensure the students get the BEST education they can. For profit colleges are not all bad. I come from a family where my father went to a trade school, was a technician, worked his way up to Director and then to owning his own business. It is unethical to discriminate against these schools, you are only hurting the students who truly belong in the trades.

Jeff A | 11/22/2021 9:56:18 AM

Different Pell schedules for different types of institutions is despicable policy. It is wrong on every level, and the excuse offered for this differentiation is weak at best and dismissive.
It is thought it will create incentives to enroll at certain colleges, but it is a path that already did not work for many. HE is not a one size fits all, and takes robust diversity in HE delivery to optimize outcomes for all students. This is the WRONG place to address any concerns with institutional quality.

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