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Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Legislative Update: Sequestration

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

House and Senate Continue to Spar Over Sequestration

Speaker of the House John Boehner along with other members of the House Republican leadership sent a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging the Senate to agree to a deal that would prevent sequestration just for defense. Senator Reid responded in letter that read in part:

Democrats have no intention of giving up on balanced deficit reduction. At the same time, we fully agree about the importance of avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff. Toward that end, the Senate recently passed legislation that cuts taxes for 114 million middle class families. By not extending tax breaks that only go to the very wealthy, the bill also produces critical savings that could be used to suspend sequestration as part of a comprehensive deficit reduction package.

Congress is scheduled to go on recess today until Monday September 10th. When they return, they are expected to pass a six month continuing resolution, but will not tackle sequestration until after the election.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Congress to Pass Six Month CR in September

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner announced today that they have reached a deal on a six-month continuing resolution (CR), which will fund the government at $1.047 trillion, which is the level set for FY 13 in the Budget Control Act (BCA). While no other details have been announced, staff will work through August recess to draft a bill. One issue to note is that the funding level set by the BCA is $4 billion more than the FY12 level, so the CR cannot simply fund programs at last year’s levels. It is unclear how Congress will allocate the additional funding for the six month CR.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Senate Holds Hearing on Impact of Sequestration on Education Programs

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education held a hearing this morning to hear from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a panel of state and local educators about the impact of sequestration on education programs. Chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Tom Harkin (IA), called on his colleagues to come to a bipartisan and balanced approach to deficit reduction, rather than the “arbitrary” cuts of sequestration.

During his testimony, Secretary Duncan agreed that we need to take a balanced approach because sequestration will cut both effective and ineffective programs. He also argued that cutting education funding is very much a national security issue due to the number of highly technical jobs, including those in the military sector, which go unfilled because there are not enough skilled individuals to fill them. When asked about the impact of the cuts on education reform efforts, Duncan said that sequestration will touch all education programs, including CTE.

June Atkinson, State Superintendent of Public Instructionin North Carolina, spoke about how sequestration would hurt her state’s effort at increasing college and career readiness. For example, providing training for Microsoft certifications requires CTE funding, which would be cut under sequestration. She also noted that the graduation rate of CTE concentrators in North Carolina is 90 percent. Presumably cuts to Perkins funding would hinder the tremendous achievement of CTE students.

Harkin also released this morning Under Threat – Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services, a report which looks at the potential impact of sequestration on education, health and labor programs under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction. The report gives national as well as state-by-state estimates of the number of jobs that could be lost and the number of individuals who could lose services if sequestration goes into effect.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Sequestration: Resources and New Information

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The information surrounding the impact and logistics of sequestration is continually in flux. With little guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, a number of policy groups are speculating about what will happen in 2013. We also know that states and locals are bracing for the worst, and trying as best they can to prepare for an approximately 8 percent cut to federally funded programs. To help you better understand the potential impact of sequestration, we have pulled together a number of resources from various sources.

Based on estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Education Association, an 8.4% cut to Perkins in FY13 would amount to a $94 million cut. A cut of this magnitude would bring funding down to 1999 levels at time when there are 2.5 million more students enrolled in CTE than there were in 1999. There is however, some good news. We had originally believed that sequestration would cut Perkins advance appropriations immediately on January 3, 2013, but the Department released a clarifying memo on Friday that read in part:

If Congress does not act to avoid sequestration, and assuming the 2013 appropriations for these four accounts are structured similarly to past appropriations (which they are under the pending House and Senate appropriations bills), the Department will take the sequester from funds that would become available in July 2013 for school year 2013-14, not from the 2012 advance appropriations available in October 2012. The amount of the reduction will be calculated by applying the sequester percentage (to be determined by the Office of Management and Budget) to the fiscal year 2013 budgetary resources from both the 2012 advance appropriations and the 2013 regular appropriations that are available for the four accounts. The calculated sequester amount will then get subtracted from the July 2013 funding. The net effect will be to cut the funding level for the programs in the four accounts with advance funding by the same percentage as all other programs, projects, and activities.

We also want to bring to your attention the results of a survey conducted by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) on the impact of sequestration on schools. The overwhelming majority of respondents (90 percent) said that neither their state nor their district would be able to absorb or offset the sequestration cuts. Fifty-four percent said that they have built in the potential cuts to their 2012-2013 school year budgets. The areas that are most likely to be affected, according to survey respondents, are: professional development, after-school programs, laying off instructional staff, and increasing class size.

What would sequestration do to CTE in your state? As we go up on the Hill and advocate against cuts to Perkins, we need to be able to share your stories. Please send any impact data on an 8.4% cut to Nancy Conneely at [email protected]

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, NCLB Waivers

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Victory for Perkins Funding in House Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee approved its FY13 bill this week by a vote of 8-6. We are happy to announce that Perkins was level funded in this bill! Thank you to everyone who contacted their Member of Congress in support of CTE and Perkins.

Because the House and Senate bills are approximately $7 billion apart, there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming months before the two chambers can agree on final spending levels. However, because Perkins was level funded in both the House and Senate bills, we are optimistic that it will remain level.

The bill will now move to the full House Appropriations Committee, likely on Wednesday July 25.

Six Additional States and the District of Columbia Receive NCLB Waivers

The Obama Administration announced this week that six more states – Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon and South Carolina – and the District of Columbia have received NCLB waivers that give them flexibility in meeting performance targets under NCLB. This latest round of recipients brings the total number of states with NCLB waivers to 32 plus the District of Columbia. Additional information on state requests and other documents can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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House to Mark Up Education Spending Bill this Wednesday

Monday, July 16th, 2012

As we’ve reported several times over the last few weeks, the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees Perkins funding has pushed back their mark up of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education funding bill. The Subcommittee has now scheduled the mark up for this Wednesday July 18.

If your Representative is a member of the Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee, we urge you contact them today and ask that they maintain Perkins Act funding. Because the House’s allocation for education and labor programs is lower than that of the Senate, it is even more important that House members hear from constituents about the importance of Perkins and CTE in helping to prepare students for jobs that remain unfilled, and in turning around the economy.

Call Your Member of Congress TODAY!

If you have any questions or to update NASDCTEc on your contact with Congress, please call Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager, at 301-588-9630 or email her at [email protected]

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Sequestration, Student Loan Rates

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Congress Asks OMB for Detailed Impact of Sequestration

While there has been much talk about the devastating impact of sequestration on federally-funded programs, there have not been a lot of details to help states and districts prepare. To help increase transparency around this issue, Senators Patty Murray (WA) and John McCain (AZ) recently introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Farm Bill that would require the Office of Management of Budget to submit to Congress a detailed analysis of the impact of sequestration cuts on both defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including education programs like Perkins. Specifically, it would require OMB to provide figures for the number of educator job lost, the number of students no longer able to access education programs, and education resources lost by states and districts. This report would have to be completed within 60 days of the Farm Bill’s passage. If the bill does not pass, the Senators intend to attach the amendment to any future bills that the Senate takes up.

In the House, the Budget Committee unanimously reported H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. Like the Murray-McCain amendment, this bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to detail how defense and non-defense programs would be affected by the automatic cuts.

Deal Reached on Student Loan Interest Rates

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have reached a deal to prevent the interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, 2012. The deal will extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans for one year. The extension will be paid for through two offsets. First, changes would be made to pension plans. The second, smaller offset would affect students: limiting how long new borrowers could receive in-school interest subsidies to 150 percent of the average time it takes to complete a degree. Currently there are no limits.

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote today on the bill to which this provision is attached. We will keep you updated on any developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Career Clusters™ Institute Recap: Perspectives from the Hill

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday afternoon we were joined by a panel of Congressional staffers who shared with attendees their outlook on budget topics, as well as the status of a number of education and workforce related bills. We were reminded that the remainder of the year is going to be a challenging one for Congress as they tackle issues such the national debt, sequestration, and tax cuts that are set to expire in December. The combination of these fiscal problems will undoubtedly lead to cuts in many federal programs.  Given that it is an election year, most of these issues will not be taken up until the lame duck session in November and December.

Because Perkins is not due for reauthorization, Congress is focused on other programmatic bills, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Child Development Block Grant. There has been a lot of action around ESEA in both chambers this session, but things have seemed to slow done. The outlook was that it probably would not be reauthorized this year. While there has been a flurry of activity on the Workforce Investment Act in the House, it is unlikely that the bill will progress much further because of stalled negotiations on the Senate side.

However, the panelists did give their perspective on Perkins-related issues. As far as the Obama Administration’s Blueprint is concerned, it could be a discussion starting point for Members of Congress as they begin talking about reauthorization. More specifically, the proposal for competitive funding is not popular in Congress, while there is agreement that accountability and data needs to be stronger. Congress would also like to see better alignment with other federal programs such as ESEA and the Higher Education Act.

All of the panelists stressed that they want to hear from you! Constituent input is very important as they decide how to allocate federal dollars most effectively, and as they work on bills such as Perkins. So if you haven’t already, contact your Member of Congress now and let him or her know how critical CTE and Perkins is. Preliminary conversations about Perkins could be starting this year, and Congress needs to hear from the field about what is working, what is not working, and changes you would like to see made.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, National Career Clusters Institute, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, SLDS Grants

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

House Labor-HHS-Education Mark Up Pushed to July

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education had intended to mark up its FY13 appropriations bill this week. However, the markup has been postponed until after the July 4th recess.  We will keep you posted on the new date. In the meantime, please see last week’s blog post about the importance of contacting your Representative about the critical need to maintain Perkins funding. There is still time!

Latest Round of SLDS Grant Winners Announced

The Institute for Education Sciences recently announced the list of 24 states that were awarded the latest round of State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants. The grants were awarded in three priority areas:

  1. The design, development, and implementation of a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) data system;
  2. The development and linking of early childhood data with the State’s K-12 data system; or
  3. The development and linking of postsecondary and/or workforce data with the State’s K-12 data system.

Nine states received grants under Priority 1 (K-12); one state received a Priority 2 (early childhood) grant, and fourteen states were awarded Priority 3 (postsecondary/workforce) grants. The winners of the grants to link K-12 data with postsecondary and/or workforce data, which may be of most interest to you, are:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Perkins Level Funded in Senate Spending Bill

This week the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education marked up their FY13 appropriation bill, which allocated approximately $158 billion to be divided up among its programs, including the Perkins Act. We are happy to report that Perkins was level funded. Given threats to non-defense discretionary programs from sequestration and other budget proposals, we think that level funding is a victory. Thank you to all of you who made outreach to your Senators! Hearing from constituents really can make a difference.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Labor-HHS-Education bill yesterday by a party-line vote of 16-14. The bill proposes to change the name of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education to the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. In order for this to happen the House would also have to propose such a change in their bill or agree to the change in conference.

During the mark up the full Committee approved an amendment to restore Pell grant eligibility for Ability to Benefit (ATB) students participating in career pathway programs. Pell eligibility for ATB students was eliminated in the FY12 appropriations bill.

Contact Your Representative Today to Maintain Perkins Act Funding!

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg (MT) previously stated that his subcommittee would not mark up their appropriations bill until after the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act. We are now hearing that he plans to mark up their bill on June 20th.

If your Representative is a member of the Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee, we urge you contact them today and ask that they maintain Perkins Act funding. Because the House’s allocation for education and labor programs is lower than that of the Senate, it is even more important that House members hear from constituents about the importance of Perkins and CTE in helping to prepare students for jobs that remain unfilled, and in turning around the economy. There is a greater possibility that Perkins could be cut in this  House bill.

House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee members:

Call Your Member of Congress TODAY!

If you have any questions or to update NASDCTEc on your contact with Congress, please call Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager, at 301-588-9630 or email her at [email protected]

By Nancy in Legislation
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