This week, the Chairman of the Budget Committee in the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan (R-WI), released the House Republican’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 – A Path to Prosperity. In general, this budget proposes to spend 33% less than the President’s budget on the areas of education, training, employment and social services and make major changes to Medicaid. While many details must still be clarified, CEC is concerned with what this budget would mean for education.
The material released by the Chairman does not provide specific details on spending cuts to education and other domestic programs, but the proposal does state it will reduce the amount of discretionary spending (including education) by $19 billion from a total level that both the House and Senate agreed on last summer in the Budget Control Act. In addition, the proposal seeks to reduce spending for important health and education programs, known as Function 500 programs, by $9.5 billion.
The proposal attempts to address the issue of the year, sequestration or automatic cuts. This 9.1% across the board cut will apply to every program in the Department of Education and will begin on January 1, 2013. CEC will be joining with several other groups throughout this year to oppose sequestration and urge Congress to find a better way to reduce the deficit. Chairman Ryan’s proposal would replace the first year of automatic cuts with cuts to mandatory-funded domestic programs, not including education. However, it leaves in place the more than $1 trillion of sequestration cuts that will occur to education programs in FY 14 - FY 21.
Overall, while CEC was not pleased to see the President’s request for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in his budget proposal, essentially level funding, we support the President’s commitment to making education a priority. Unfortunately, if the Path to Prosperity is enacted we have grave concerns about the future of funding for any education program.
One bright note, was a letter sent by the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, John Kline (R-MN) in which he urged members of the Appropriations Committees to fully fund IDEA. Read CEC’s letter thanking him for his commitment to funding IDEA here.