Update on July 19: Today House staff confirmed that Part C and Part D were level funded in the House bill that passed committee yesterday. CEC is still inquiring about special education research details. More to come!
The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies passed its recommendations for education funding today, mostly along party lines. All Democrats voted against the bill and all but one Republican (Jeff Flake from Arizona) voted for it. While CEC is pleased the Subcommittee recognized the need to fund IDEA, Part B Grants to States, it is concerned that the proposed budget would cut over $1 billion dollars from education funding and several representatives appeared to support even deeper cuts to education programs, including IDEA.
Early on in the hearing, Representative Lummis, Republican from Wyoming, offered an amendment that would have further cut the education budget by $8.6 billion – this would have meant another 5.6% cut to every program in the bill – including IDEA. This failed on a voice vote.
Most importantly, the Subcommittee did not appear to increase – or cut - any other IDEA program. It also appears to have level funded special education research, which is of great concern to CEC as this funding level is actually based on a 30% -- or $20 million – cut the program received last year. (Read more about CEC’s work to restore and increase special education research funding here.) Final details about these programs will not be known until the Subcommittee releases its final report.
Not surprisingly, the budget would eliminate many of President Obama’s signature objectives including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation and the Affordable Care Act. It would maintain funding, however, for the Promise Neighborhood program and the Teacher Incentive Fund (a grant program that helps districts implement pay for performance systems).
So what happens next? A vote by the full Appropriations Committee is expected before the August recess, but nothing has yet been scheduled. Even if the full House Appropriations Committee approves the Subcommittee recommendations, no definite outcome on the fiscal year 2013 budget is expected until after the November election.
Thank you Advocates! CEC members have been extremely active on funding issues in recent months – sending close to 2,000 letters to the Senate and almost 1,000 to the House. You can read more about CEC’s concerns for the 2013 fiscal year budget here. Thanks to all who have spoken out!
Want the Subcommittee’s summary? Read the Subcommittee’s Press Release here.