Even before the 85th Legislative session began in January, members were concerned about a tight budget. We already know that budgets are tight because our budget is tight – which is different from the hundreds of lobbyists under the dome who have deep pockets. With that fact in mind, DCCCD officials dropped by a few Senate Finance and House Appropriations members’ offices to chat and to share a tasty breakfast treat.
DCCCD launched a “donut” holes day at the Capitol, asking legislators: “Donut” forget us.
We launched a DCCCD “donut” holes day at the Capitol. Wait – did you say “donut” holes? Yes, we’re talking about those tasty treats of which a person can have one or two – or even six! Our goal was to thank members for their hard work while asking them to “donut” forget us during the budget process. We believe the state should properly fund higher education, workforce programs and small business development centers. The first round of DCCCD “donut” holes day comprised visits to 30 offices, but we can’t do this alone. (More about that below in Finis.)
Fresh bags of “donut” holes appeared in Capitol offices.
This week, both the House Higher Education and the Senate Higher Education committees held hearings. You can learn more about which bills were heard, who testified and what’s in the committee minutes at the House link and Senate link.
The Senate is adjourned until 12:30 p.m. on Monday, April 3. The House is adjourned until 2 p.m. next Monday as well.
This week both chambers focused part of their time on the state budget. Based on the Texas Constitution, legislators truly have one job, and that’s to pass a budget. On the Senate side, the full Senate passed a budget by a 31-0 vote. However, this doesn’t mean all Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed on how to spend the money. Their budget appropriates approximately $217 billion.
The House Appropriations committee passed a budget of approximately $218 billion, which is slightly lower than their initial proposal, and which would dip into the never-tapped Rainy Day Fund. It seeks to withdraw $2.5 billion to help meet budget demands. The full House will vote on the budget next week.
What does all of this activity mean? Differences exist between the proposals for both chambers. As we’ve seen during previous sessions, once the full House passes a budget, its version more than likely will not mirror the Senate’s version. When that situation occurs, a conference committee will be appointed to negotiate the final details.
Where do we begin the discussion about activities in D.C.?
Last week, Republicans withdrew the House vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Didn’t they have the votes? Leading up to the vote, President Donald Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer felt confident they had the votes because they control the majority in the House. As you know, it didn’t work out that way. Related articles were aired or published here: CNBC, New York Times, Speaker Ryan Press Conference on the Vote. Are you a political junkie? Here’s a cheap plug and sneak peek from last week’s political show The Circus.
Wednesday marked one month before the government could potentially shut down. Did you say the government will close? Is it a holiday? No, it’s not a holiday. Instead, a potential funding gap could cause the U.S. government to stop operating. Congress will have until April 28 to pass a budget or a continuing resolution. By the way…we forgot to mention that Congress has a two-week break in the middle of April.
What about Russia? It’s still an ongoing circus which has taken on a life of its own. This week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Richard Burr and ranking member Mark Warner, stood together and vowed to investigate any potential Russian involvement. What about the House investigation? The House has come across a few issues. Related articles include: Albuquerque Journal, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post.
Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We will track these and other bills that may have an impact on our district during the legislative session. You can view those House and Senate bills by visiting our site.
As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions.
Budgets are under discussion, and intense negotiating between the House and the Senate will begin soon. Higher education and small business and development centers are taking a financial hit, and we need your help. How? Glad you asked! Visit Who Represents Me and enter you address to see your state Representative and state Senator’s names. You can always reach out to them and ask them to support funding for community colleges and small business development centers.
Now…Where did I leave that extra bag of “donut” holes?