Where We Are
Time for a brief update. We have just a few weeks left in the session and we are still alive. A small group of us met with Rep. Knoblach (Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee) yesterday. As you know, he expressed interest in our initiative as well as opened the door to possibly funding the Bill. It was a constructive meeting wherein he asked some very insightful questions. We believe we answered all questions thoroughly and convincingly, though he did not verbally commit to funding our Bill.
So, here’s what we think is happening. The House has voted on and passed the Higher Education Omnibus budget without us. Now committees will be established between the House and Senate to resolve the two bodies different Budget Bills. These committees are called Conference Committees. They will be meeting in the coming weeks to resolve the differences between the two bodies and put forward Budget Bills that everyone can agree upon. This is where the horse trading, or if you prefer ugly business of sausage making happens.
We think that there is enough support for our Bill to warrant the House using it to leverage the Senate into negotiating things that they either want or want removed. So, fortunately for us there is enough merit in our Bill to be used as a bargaining chip but unfortunately it may not be merit that will be the determining factor in the negotiations. But it would seem this is how things are done at this stage of the process.
We do not yet know what members will be in the Higher Ed Conference Committee or when they will be meeting. We will let you know as soon as we do. At that point we hope that you will continue to send appeals to the members as well as attend the committee hearings if you are able.
Thank you so much for sending so many emails and making so many phone calls. IT is the reason we have gotten so far.