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Following Pope Francis' historic visit to DC and address to Congress, breaking news erupted Friday morning that has since set the city spinning.

Republican Leadership Shake-Up

House Speaker John Boehner's startling resignation announcement has jolted many in Washington, particularly the Republican conference. After serving nearly five challenging years in the House's top leadership post, Speaker Boehner will step down at the end of October and retire from Congress.

Especially since Rep. Paul Ryan has already indicated that he does not intend to run for the position, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is largely seen as being next in line to seize the Speaker's gavel. Current House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers are expected to run for the House Majority Leader spot, currently occupied by Rep. McCarthy. Though no one has made official announcements yet, several other members are speculated to be contenders, including Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam.

Implications for Appropriations

The news splash comes during a climactic time. An urgent deadline looms: Congress needs to pass a Fiscal Year 2016 funding bill by October 1 in order to prevent a government shutdown. Last week, Senate Republicans attempted to move a Continuing Resolution (CR) that tacked on a provision to defund Planned Parenthood, but it was ultimately rejected. Later today, the Senate is expected to take a procedural vote on a "clean" short-term CR to fund the government through mid-December, and then vote on its actual passage sometime tomorrow before tossing it over to the House. Since House Republicans now plan to advance a separate "reconciliation" package to continue efforts to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, the lower chamber is expected to approve the Senate's non-controversial spending measure with Democrat support and send it to the President's desk, delaying the funding debate until right before the holidays. 

OGR will be closely tracking developments. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the DC office at (202) 624-7876.

Education Secretary Visits Urbana, Praises Disability Leadership
Via U.S. Department of Education 

Less than a week after the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture visited Urbana, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary, Arne Duncan, swung by as part of ED's sixth annual "Back-to-School" bus tour. With this year's "Ready for Success" theme, Secretary Duncan spent his time on campus learning about Urbana's exceptional resources and educational services for students with disabilities. Secretary Duncan's first stop was to join the players and coaches of the Illini men's and women's wheelchair basketball teams.

He then sat down with students, alumni, and educators for a roundtable conversation about the academic and non-academic support provided by Urbana's Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES), as well as its new Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. Pat Malik, Interim Director of DRES, moderated the discussion. Secretary Duncan was blown away: "The opportunities this school is creating, and all the potential the students represent – it's just extraordinary." 

Via U.S. Department of Education 

Campus leaders, including Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and Tanya Gallagher, Dean of Urbana's College of Applied Health Sciences, welcomed the Secretary. Tim Nugent, the original founder of DRES, also joined. 

Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, accompanied Secretary Duncan and extended his stay to tour the Center for Wounded Veterans.

Click here to read ED's blog post about the visit and here to watch Secretary Duncan's comments following the visit.

Rep. Rodney Davis Speaks at IL Connection Meeting

Rep. Rodney Davis joined a crowd of over 200 enthusiastic University of Illinois alumni at the 2015 Illinois Connection Annual Meeting that was held prior to Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee State University. Loren Taylor, President & CEO of the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA) and UI President Tim Killeen welcomed the spirited group. Bridget Lamont, Chair of the UIAA Advocacy Committee, introduced Rep. Davis, who provided a federal legislative update and shared some of his thoughts about the future of higher education.


Thank you,

Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations