Legislative Update: Appropriations, Community College Grants, ESEA

Budget Cuts Could Get Deeper

House Republican freshmen this week rejected Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s (WI) proposal to cut $74 billion from President Obama’s FY1 budget, saying that it did not go far enough. The conservative wing of the party wants to keep their campaign pledge to cut $100 billion from the budget. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (KY) and the rest of the Republican leadership have agreed to do so, and a new proposal is expected today.

Speaker John Boehner (OH) on Thursday said, “We are working with our members and our committee chairmen to make sure that this cut is as big as possible to send a signal that we’re serious about cutting spending here in Washington.”

What we are hearing on the Hill is that the larger the cuts get in the House bill, the less likely the bill is to pass the Democratically-controlled Senate. There is speculation that if the Senate rejects the bill, another short –term continuing resolution will be passed while both chambers work on passing a bill with less significant cuts. But that doesn’t mean Perkins is safe. Be sure to call your Member of Congress today to make sure they know how vital CTE is for turning around our economy!

TAA Bill Pulled From the House Floor

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill that would have cut funding for the Community College Career Training Grant (CCCTG) program was pulled from the House floor on Tuesday because Republicans did not have the votes the pass it. This is because the conservative members of the Republican Study Committee opposed extending the trade adjustment program and because there was general concern about using the CCCTG program as an offset. The CCCTG program is funded through FY 2014, but many of the TAA worker benefit provisions expire tomorrow.

Senate Republicans Outline Areas of Focus for ESEA Reauthorization

On a recent call with media, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (WY) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), the Ranking Member of the subcommittee overseeing K-12 policy identified nine areas that they believe ESEA reauthorization should focus on in order to fix the problems of NCLB. These areas are:

1.      Refining or eliminating the 2014 100 percent proficiency goal,

2.      Revamping the “prescriptive” AYP formula,

3.      Reviewing the use of assessments,

4.      Examining how sanctions impact rural schools,

5.      Revisiting HQT requirements,

6.      Expanding flexibility at the state and local level,

7.      Identifying education programs that are duplicative or overlapping,

8.      Making funding more flexible, and

9.      Involving parents in their child’s education more.

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