Peter Oppenheim is the assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 3, 2017, after being nominated by President Donald J. Trump on June 6, 2017.
Assistant Secretary Oppenheim serves as the principal adviser to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on all matters concerning the Department's legislative activities and relations with Congress. In this role, he leads the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, which is responsible for recommending, directing, and coordinating the legislative goals of the Department; establishing effective networks of support for these goals among Members of Congress; coordinating and providing information, including testimony, to Congress about Departmental policies, appropriations, programs, and organization; assuring the Department is responsive to Congressional requests for information; and informing and educating senior officials and staff within the Department with regard to the exigencies and nuances of Congressional policy- and decision-making practices.
Assistant Secretary Oppenheim brings extensive experience from his work on education policy in the public and private sectors, as well as a demonstrated record of achievement and commitment to expanding educational access and opportunities for students and families. Prior to joining the Department, Oppenheim served as the education policy director and counsel for Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). He was responsible for managing the development and advancement of the Committee's broad legislative agenda related to early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, students with disabilities, higher education, and workforce development. During his tenure on the Senate HELP Committee staff, Oppenheim was particularly instrumental in the bipartisan development, negotiation, and enactment of several landmark laws, including the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013.
Previously, Oppenheim was Senator Alexander's legislative counsel from 2011 to 2013, advising him on a broad portfolio of issues related to education, workforce development, labor, and pensions. Before working in Congress, Oppenheim was a managing associate in the education and workforce practice at the Carmen Group, a public policy research assistant for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), a finance coordinator for the Republican Governors Association, and a project manager for the Republican National Committee.
Assistant Secretary Oppenheim holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the American University Washington College of Law and a bachelor's degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.