The following post was written by Nicole Truhe, America Forward’s Director of Government Affairs.
America Forward held its bi-monthly Pay for Success and Evidence-Based Policy Network call in late September after the Congressional August recess had wrapped up to discuss the current “State of Play” in Pay for Success and evidence-based policy and practice. This post reflects the major updates provided and additional resources needed to access more detail about individual pieces of legislation, new Administrative initiatives and the state level work that was discussed.
- Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (H.R. 5170)/Social Impact Partnerships Act (S. 1089): This legislation has been under consideration by both chambers since the last Congress. Though the House has moved on its version of the bill, the Senate has yet to move theirs out of committee or through the full Senate. A few minor differences exist between the two bills, and the most significant point of contention is with the pay for the House used in garnering passage for their bill. The TANF Contingency Fund is the source of the $100 Million offset to ensure that the bill was paid for per House rules. The Senate is looking for an alternative pay for per feedback from Senators. Both versions of the legislation would direct federal resources to states and local communities to support innovative Pay for Success feasibility studies, evaluations, and end payment structures. Current Status: House: The updated House version was successfully voted out of Committee and the full House with bi-partisan support in June.
Senate: The Senate is looking for an offset for their version of the bill and a vehicle for moving the legislation.
- Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act: After the passage of the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act, which was introduced by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) this Congress, and the identification of the 15 Commission members, the work of this important Commission began in July. Current Status: The Commission has held two public meetings with 3 more dates identified (10/21, 11/4, and 12/12) for future public meetings. The October 21st meeting is an open hearing being used to receive stakeholder input. There is a formal process through the Federal Register to comment on the work of the Commission. In addition, there will be information shortly on the Commission’s website about how to submit written and oral comments to be presented during the October 21st public hearing scheduled from 9-5 in the Rayburn House Office Building.
- Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century: After introducing and successfully voting their bill to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act out of Committee in July, the full House came back after their August recess and agreed to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill contains many important provisions related to outcomes, innovation and Pay for Success needed to drive the career and technical education system in a more evidence-driven direction. Current Status: The House voted their bill out and reported it to the Senate. The Senate has a version pending that has been identified as partisan and may not have the same swift and successful passage as the House. The Senate bill language has not been released at time of this post.
- Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations: Both chambers have moved their respective 12 appropriations bills out the relevant House and Senate appropriations subcommittees/committees. With the Fiscal Year poised to end on Friday, September 30th, Congress is scrambling to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open and to fund agencies and programs. Current Status: On September 22nd, the Senate released a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government operating through December 9th. The CR includes a 0.496% across-the-board cut for all programs, projects, or activities to bring the bill in compliance with FY 2017 budget caps and maintains discretionary funding at a rate of $1.067 trillion. Once the Senate is able to move the bill, the House will be up for review and vote.
Federal Administrative Updates
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Pay for Success Demonstration: Bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation that authorizes a Pay for Success multifamily energy and water conversation Pay for Success demonstration in affordable housing was introduced and successfully passed out of Congress last year. HUD is now authorized to test energy efficiency solutions in HUD-assisted, multi-family housing with the goal of reducing costs to the federal government. Current Status: In their NOFA Forecast list, HUD noted that this funding opportunity NOFA will be published on/around October 30th with an estimated application due date of January 30, 2017. The HUD NOFA Forecast page will be updated as materials are published.
- Department of Education Announcements: The Department of Education continues to release formal proposed regulations and non-regulatory guidance to support State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies in their implementation of the Every Student Success Act (ESSA). Most recently, the Department released non-regulatory guidance focused on the evidence provisions in ESSA. In addition, the Department formally released two NOFAs over the summer providing funding for Pay for Success efforts in the career and technical education and preschool development areas. The CTE NOFA closed on August 25th and awards are expected late Fall or early winter. The preschool NOFA will award up to $2.8 Million in funding for testing through a feasibility study whether Pay for Success is a viable strategy for implementing preschool programs. The announcement in the Federal Register is here and the deadline for submitting applications is October 6th.
- Department of Veterans Affairs and Corporation for National and Community Service: The VA and CNCS partnered in August on a Veterans Employment Pay for Success Grant Program to fund a demonstration project to support and assess the use of Pay for Success to improve employment outcomes for veterans with a service-connected disability of PTSD. Applications were due September 14th and the award announcement is expected in late Fall.
State and Programmatic Updates
- District of Columbia Environmental Impact Bond: The DC Water and Sewer Authority is planning a first of its kind environmental-based Pay for Success project. The DC Water Board recently approved a $20 million to $30 million bond to finance two green infrastructure projects focuses on the controlling of storm water runoff.
- Institute for Child Success SIF PFS Feasibility Study Findings: As a SIF PFS grantee, ICS is providing 9-12 months of technical assistance to a number of jurisdictions across the country to determine whether PFS is a feasible way to improve child outcomes. ICS recently released the findings from their work with the first cohort of SIF-funded states and counties.
- Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative: Since 2011, the Results First Initiative has worked with 22 states and 7 counties to help them implement a cost-benefit analysis approach to their policy and budget decisions. They have also developed a Results First Clearinghouse that consolidates the eight major ‘what works’ databases that are available for a streamlined search and review. They will be releasing a 50 state study based on their work to date in the Fall/Winter.
If you are interested in learning more about Pay for Success or evidence-based policy or America Forward’s related advocacy efforts, please contact America Forward’s Government Affairs Director, Nicole Truhe at Nicole_truhe@newprofit.org.
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