The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have a packed calendar for the month of September. First on the docket is the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee markup on its fiscal year (FY) 2018 education funding bill which took place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 6. The Senate Subcommittee unanimously approved a total of $68.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, a $29 million increase over the FY2017 level. Funding levels for all of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs have not yet been specified, although the IDEA Grants to States, Part B, Section 611 is frozen at the FY2017 level. Funding for Title II, the federal teacher preparation program, is recommended at the FY2017 level. Previously, both the President and the House eliminated in their budgets funding for Title II. Title II remains in jeopardy despite the Senate’s support. Additionally, the Senate rejected the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to assist districts create or expand school choice programs through Title I and the Education Innovation and Research programs. The House rejected the administration’s school choice initiatives in their budget bill earlier this year.
Thursday, September 7 at 10:30 a.m. the full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the subcommittee bill. Legislative text and amendments to be offered will not be public until Thursday’s markup. The bill text includes funding levels at the account level, not the program level, which means that specific program funding will likely not be available until the Committee publishes its report. You can listen to audio of both of these markups here.
Meanwhile, the House is due to consider H.R. 3354, “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018”, starting on Thursday, September 7 at 12:00 p.m. This bill includes education appropriations, one of the eight remaining regular appropriations bills for FY 2018. A summary on the eight remaining discrete divisions can be reviewed here. Upon passage of the eight division appropriations bills, they will be coupled with the “minibus” that was passed by the House on July 27 and will be sent to the Senate as one complete Omnibus Appropriations bill.
Although markups will occur this week, it is likely that a FY2018 funding budget will not be passed by the end of the month, and the Congress will likely divert to a 3-month continuing resolution.
You can continue to send letters to your members of Congress through the Legislative Action Center. Let them know today that special and gifted education and early intervention programs need additional funding and cannot absorb any funding cuts!