Today, lawmakers inched closer to striking a budget deal which would allow the federal government to reopen. After negations in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to produce a deal, the U.S. Senate was able to come to a compromise, details of which are slowly becoming public.
For education programs, reopening the federal government would enable the U.S. Department of Education’s thousands of staff who have been furloughed for 16 days to return to work. The Department oversees a budget of $68.4 billion, over $12 billion of which is spent on special education and early intervention.
According to news accounts, the Senate deal would fund the federal government through January 15, 2014 and would agree to raise the nation’s debt limit until February 7, 2014. While specific details on the agreement are continuing to emerge, it appears that this temporary funding measure would keep in place sequestration cuts – which last year slashed over $2 billion from the U.S. Department of Education, including cutting over $600 million from special education programs. CEC has been urging Congress to reject sequestration and increase the investment in education programs.
With the January 15th and February 7th deadlines looming, it appears that this temporary deal is only setting the nation up for a similar situation this winter. Over the next few months, lawmakers – led by the budget committee leaders in the House and Senate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), respectively – will be tasked with negotiating spending plans in anticipation of the next set of deadlines.
As Congress begins to consider future funding levels for education programs, join us in urging an increase for special education and early intervention programs!Take action today!