The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation titled the HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students Act (PARTNERS), by a vote of 388 to 6. The six representatives who opposed the passage of the bill are Justin Amash of Michigan, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Tom McClintock of California, and Chip Roy of Texas.
Te bill codifies into law an Executive Order signed by President Trump that requires agencies that regularly interact with historically Black colleges and universities to submit an agency plan to both the secretary of the Department of Education and the executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs regarding efforts to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to participate in relevant federal programs and initiatives. Among other things, the plans must establish how the agencies intend to increase the capacity of HBCUs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. The legislation requires agencies to provide technical assistance and information to enhance communication with HBCUs concerning their program activities and initiatives as well as applications for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.
“Codifying Executive Order 13779 is an essential first piece of the puzzle to make sure HBCUs receive the funding necessary to be whole,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the United Negro College Fund. “When I think about what we as African Americans have experienced this year, with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 as well as the undisputed showcase of racial inequity, we can only be bold in our asks. HBCUs can no longer wait.”