House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) yesterday released The Path to Prosperity, a budget resolution that aims to balance the budget and reduce the federal deficit. To do so, this resolution outlines cutting government spending by $5.8 trillion over 10 years compared to current spending levels, having the effect of reducing the deficit by $1.65 trillion over 10 years. However, budget resolutions are merely Congressional blueprints and do not have the force of law. If this budget resolution were to pass Congress it could be the basis for legislation that could become law.
While this resolution does not include very many specifics, there are areas where education funding was targeted. First, it proposed to return Pell grants to pre-stimulus levels. This seems to mean cutting the maximum award from $5,550 to the FY08 level of $4,731. Second, the resolution recommends “Consolidat[ing] dozens of overlapping job-training programs into more accountable career scholarships to improve access to career development assistance and strengthen the first rung on the ladder out of poverty.” It is unclear what impact this recommendation, if included in later legislation, would have on CTE and Perkins programs.
The House Budget Committee will vote on the resolution today, and could go to the full House as early as Friday. However, even if it passes the House, it is unlikely to pass the Democratically-controlled Senate. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (ND) is working on his own budget resolution.