Chairman of Key Education Committee Will Not Seek Re-Election
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014 and will step down at the end of his current term. The reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is up for reconsideration later this year, would be managed through the HELP Committee. Chairman Harkin has been a long-time supporter of Career Technical Education (CTE). Depending on when Perkins moves through the HELP Committee, this change in leadership will have an unknown impact. Chairman Harkin was elected to the Senate in 1985, and has chaired the HELP Committee since 2009.
Reminder – Delay In Release Of Presidential Budget
Traditionally, the President releases his annual budget request by the first Monday of February, which is next Monday. However, due to the protracted negotiations surrounding the fiscal cliff the release of the budget has been pushed back, most likely to March. The President’s budget will send a signal to the public and Congress of his priorities. Last year, the Obama Administration recommended flat funding of Perkins, however the year before, the budget proposal included a recommendation of a $124 million cut. NASDCTEc will be monitoring the Congressional fiscal debates and will be working to ensure that the needs of the CTE community are heard. As more details are available, we will be sure to share them with you.
Senate Approves Suspension of Debt Limit
On Thursday, the Senate agreed to a plan that was already passed by the House, to temporarily suspend the legal limit on national debt. The measure, which must now be signed off by President Obama, confirms April 15th as a key date where both the House and the Senate will have to approve budgets. Regardless of the outcome, it seems likely that spending limits for nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, such as education and workforce development, are likely to be reduced. NDD spending, which must be approved through Congressional appropriations each year, is expected to be reduced to record lows. The graph below, published by the Congressional Budget Office, shows just how severe the cuts are set to be. Funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) would be impacted, as Perkins is considered an NDD program. While we do not project targeted cuts to Perkins, the overall dire fiscal projections for NDD programs is likely to mean fewer dollars for CTE programs at a time when the economy and student interest reflect increased demand.
David Beckett, Advocacy Manager