Senate Passes Continuing Resolution
On March 20, the Senate voted 73-26 to pass its version of the FY13 continuing resolution (CR). This CR would see all Department of Education programs funded at their FY13 levels and then cut 5% by the sequester. It is important to note that the Senate passed CR does not include the 0.098% across the board cut that was included in the House approved CR.
The House must now decide whether or not to accept the Senate version, which would mean dropping the 0.098% across the board cut, and pass the bill to the President to sign or to try to work across the chambers to resolve the differences between the two proposals. NASDCTEc will continue to monitor this ever-changing and very active policy environment and provide you with more information on the emerging budget and sequestration decisions being made. Because the Perkins Act is forward funded, the decisions made with this CR would effect the funding that states get on July 1, 2013.
House Republican and Democrat FY14 Budget Proposals
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently announced his plan for the FY14 budget (H.Con.Res.25). The measure, which passed through the House Budget Committee last week on a party line vote of 22-17, is expected to be voted on later today and would see an 11.7% reduction in overall non defense discretionary (NDD) spending in FY14. NDD spending includes all education and workforce funding, including Perkins. Budget proposals generally do not provide recommendations for program level increases or decreases but instead provide a broad framework, an overall cap on spending, and guidelines for where investments should be made. The Ryan budget proposal does not provide details on which programs would be reduced to achieve the 11.7% reduction in NDD, so it is unclear of the implications of this proposal on Perkins funding. The Ryan proposal does recommend moving the Community College/TAA Grant program, which is administered by the Department of Labor, to the discretionary side of the budget; it is currently on the mandatory side of the budget.
Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, had offered up an alternative budget proposal on behalf of House Democrats that would rescind the sequestration cuts. The proposal recommended maintaining the current investment in education programs and also lacks the detail necessary to know what impact would be had on Perkins funding, however the House yesterday rejected the Van Hollen budget along with all other budget substitutes.
Senate Democrat FY14 Budget Proposals
Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) also announced her plan for the FY14 budget (S.Con.Res.8). The proposal would see the sequester eliminated, resulting in more Perkins funding in future years than currently expected. It would also see $4 trillion in savings reached over ten years, as had been recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Debate on the measure had been held up until the Senate had passed a bill on the FY13 continuing resolution. Under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, 50 hours of debate are allowed on the budget, meaning deliberations could go on until Saturday evening. The divide between the political parties is clear when comparing the budget proposals, with fierce debates expected as the measures move forward. Once both the House and the Senate pass their respective proposals, a Conference Committee will be held, allowing differences between the proposals to be discussed and for compromise to be reached.
President’s FY14 Budget Proposal
The President’s FY14 budget proposal has yet to be released. Typically, this proposal is released in early February and kicks off the budget debates. However, the President’s proposal, expected in early to mid-April, will be coming along when the Congressional debates may well be complete.
David Beckett, Advocacy Manager