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Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Contact Your Senator Today to Maintain Perkins Act Funding!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education is scheduled to mark up their FY13 appropriations bill next Tuesday, June 12th. The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee has been slated to receive $157.722 billion to divide up among its programs, including the Perkins Act. The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to markup the Labor-HHS-Education bill on Thursday June 14th.

If your Senator is a member of the Appropriations Committee, we urge you contact them today and ask that they maintain Perkins Act funding. Given the threats to non-defense discretionary funding (including Perkins) from sequestration and other budget proposals, it is vital that members of Congress 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.

Senate Appropriations Committee members (Labor-HHS-Education members denoted by asterisk):

  •  Daniel Inouye (HI)*
  • Patrick Leahy (VT)
  • Tom Harkin (IA)*
  • Barbara Mikulski (MD)*
  • Herb Kohl (WI)*
  • Patty Murray (WA)*
  • Dianne Feinstein (CA)
  • Richard Durbin (IL)*
  • Tim Johnson (SD)
  • Mary Landrieu (LA)*
  • Jack Reed (RI)*
  • Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
  • Ben Nelson (NE)
  • Mark Pryor (AR)*
  • Jon Tester (MT)
  • Sherrod Brown (OH)*
  • Thad Cochran (MS)*
  • Mitch McConnell (KY)
  • Richard Shelby (AL)*
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)*
  • Lamar Alexander (TN)*
  • Susan Collins (ME)
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK)
  • Lindsey Graham (SC)*
  • Mark Kirk (IL)*
  • Dan Coats (IN)
  • Roy Blunt (MO)
  • Jerry Moran (KS)*
  • John Hoeven (ND)
  • Ron Johnson (WI)*

Call Your Senator 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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House Alternative Sequestration Bills Would Result in Deeper Cuts to Domestic Programs

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

In an effort to shield $600 billion in defense spending from sequestration, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) has introduced a pair of bills that would generate savings in some manner other than the current sequestration plan in the Budget Control Act.

The Sequester Replacement Act would reduce the discretionary spending cap set by the Budget Control Act for FY13 by $19 billion. It also prohibits defense spending from being subject to sequestration in FY13. This would shift all of the savings required by the Budget Control Act to fall on non-defense discretionary spending, including education programs.

The House budget resolution included reconciliation instructions for six committees – Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means – to save $260 billion over ten years. The resulting bill, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, makes cuts to mandatory programs within these six committees in exchange for stopping sequestration in 2013. More information on specific cuts to programs under the committees’ jurisdictions can be found here.

Both bills are expected to be on the House floor for votes next week.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Sequestration

Friday, April 27th, 2012

House Sets Spending Levels

The House Appropriations committee this week released their FY13 302(b) allocations. Their allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee is $150.002 billion. This is more than $6 billion below FY12 levels, and approximately $7.8 billion below the Senate’s allocation. Such a large divide between the House and the Senate likely means that we will see another series of continuing resolutions this fall.

Sequestration Hearing Highlights Harmful Impact on Education

The House Budget Committee held a hearing this week on sequestration. Daniel Werfel of the Office of Management and Budget told of the impact of sequestration on security and domestic programs:

If allowed to occur, the sequester would be highly destructive to national security and domestic priorities, and core government functions. The Administration believes that taking action to avoid the sequester in full in a balanced and fiscally responsible manner must be the primary focus of Congress’s deliberations in the coming months… For non-defense, the cuts would be equally harmful and wide-ranging, for example, cutting funding for education, law enforcement, infrastructure, and research and development.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR) also raised the point of how harmful the cuts would be to education.  Her question to the witnesses was an especially important one for CTE: “What is going happen to our efforts to rebuild the economy and our long term competiveness in a global market when we are doing this to our future leaders?” Mr. Werfel responded that the approximate 8% cut to non-defense discretionary programs would result in a loss of educational services for students, as well as a loss of educator jobs, for districts that are already struggling.

Unless Congress acts to stop it, sequestration will take effect on January 2, 2013.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Career Pathways

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Department of Education released their Perkins reauthorization blueprint yesterday. See our previous blog entry and statement here.

Senate Sets Spending Levels for Subcommittees

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee released their 302(b) allocations, or spending levels, for each of the 12 subcommittees. In the Senate, they are using as their top line number the cap set by the Budget Control Act — $1.047 trillion. The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee would receive $157.722 billion to divide up among its programs, including the Perkins Act. The House is expected to release its 302(b) allocations next.

House Holds WIA Hearing

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a legislative hearing this week on H.R. 4297, the “Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012.” The hearing provided members an opportunity to discuss and gather expert feedback on the legislation. Among other things, this bill would consolidate 27existing workforce related programs into one flexible job training program, require the makeup of WIBs to be two-thirds employers, and require States to adopt common performance measures.

DOL Releases Career Pathways Resources

The Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor released technical assistance resources for the Career Pathways Initiative. The Career Pathways Initiative was launched in June 2010 to increase credential attainment and improve access to training opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. The new resources can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Bills Introduced

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Congress is on recess this week and next for the Easter and Passover holidays. They will reconvene on Monday April 16, 2012.

 

Dear Colleague Letters Call for Investment in Perkins

Members of both the House and Senate have signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters, asking the appropriators in their respective chambers to invest in Perkins during the FY13 appropriations process. The Senate letter, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), was signed by 22 Senators. In the House, the letter was authored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and Jim Langevin (RI), and was signed by a total of 65 Representatives.

At a time when Congress is looking to cut spending in all areas, letters such as these show appropriators the level of support among members for individual programs. While it is hard to predict what will happen with funding for any programs this year, we hope that these letters will resonate with the Appropriations Committees and will stave off further cuts to Perkins.

Bills Introduced

Rebuild America Act

Senator Tom Harkin (IA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has introduced S. 2252, the Rebuild America Act, aimed at restoring the middle class through investments in education, infrastructure and job training, and changes to the tax code. Among other things, the bill would:

 

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: WIA, Budget

Friday, March 30th, 2012

House Introduces Workforce Investment Act

The House this week introduced a comprehensive Workforce Investment Act reauthorization proposal, H.R. 4297, The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. This builds upon three separate bills introduced earlier this session by Reps. Virginia Foxx (NC), Rep. Buck McKeon (CA), and Rep. Joe Heck (NV). Rep. Foxx’s earlier bill, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act, allowed states to submit a unified plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. We shared our opposition to this proposal with the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and we are happy to report that new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as the only program that cannot be consolidated in the unified state plan.

House Passes Budget Resolution

Yesterday the House passed the FY13 Budget Resolution introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) by a vote of 228 to 191. This proposal would cap federal spending at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below levels set by the Budget Control Act and the level that the Senate is plans to use.  Such a large difference between the chambers sets up another potentially long and drawn out appropriations process.

Duncan Testifies Before Congress on Budget
This week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee to discuss the Administration’s FY13 Budget, much like he did last week before the Appropriations Labor-HHS- Education Subcommittee.  There was push back from this committee about the focus in the President’s budget on new competitive grant programs, as opposed to the long-standing formula programs. Secretary Duncan also spoke about the value of community colleges and the need to increase capacity to meet the growing demand of individuals seeking to upgrade their skills.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Budget, ED Priorities, DOL Priorities

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

House Marks Up Budget Resolution

Rep. Paul Ryan Chairman of the House Budget Committee released his budget resolution this week, which will serve as a blueprint for the House as the appropriations process moves forward. The budget passed committee by a vote of 19-18. The resolution sets the FY13 discretionary cap at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below the cap set by the Budget Control Act last summer. The proposal would cut education, training, employment, and social services programs by $16.4 billion, which is 22 percent below FY12 levels. The resolution specifically targets Federal job training and workforce programs, calling them duplicative, and proposing to streamline the system and consolidate existing programs into “career scholarship programs.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has said that the Senate will adhere to the spending levels set in the Budget Control Act and will not release a budget resolution.

Secretary Duncan Testifies Before Congress

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday to discuss the budget and policy priorities of Department of Education.  Duncan spoke about some CTE-specific proposals such as increased funding for career academies and community colleges. He also addressed the need to reauthorize the Perkins Act:

The Administration’s reauthorization proposal would transform CTE by increasing the focus on outcomes and career pathways that ensure that what students learn in school is more closely aligned with the demands of the 21st century economy, while creating stronger linkages between secondary and postsecondary education. The proposal would also promote innovation and reform in CTE.

A number of members, from both sides of the aisle, expressed concern that the President’s budget would cut or freeze existing programs, in exchange for funding new programs such as the Community College to Career Fund.

Secretary Solis Testifies Before Congress

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee this week about the budget and policy priorities of the Department of Labor. Solis began her testimony by saying that the labor market grew stronger last year, and that over 2 million private sector jobs were created, while the unemployment rate fell in 48 states. However, there is still work to be done and the President’s budget outlines the steps his administration intends to take to address unemployment and the skills gap.

As we told you after the President’s State of the Union address, he plans to create an “economy built to last,” founded on strengthening manufacturing, energy, education, and skills training for individuals. Secretary Solis outlined the proposed programs in the President’s budget that would help address these issues. For example, the Community College to Career Fund would help community colleges to partner with business and industry to develop training programs for workers to enter high growth and high demand industries that meet the needs of local employers.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Global Competitiveness

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Congress Seeks Support for Perkins Funding

As the FY13 appropriations process gets underway, Members of Congress in both the House and Senate are circulating “Dear Colleague” sign-on letters, asking other members to support Perkins Act funding. The House letter is authored by Congressional CTE Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and James Langevin (RI), and the Senate letter is led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT). After signatures have been collected, the letters will be sent to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate.

Please contact your Members of Congress to ask them to sign the letters to support CTE funding. You can reach your Members of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. The deadline for the House letter is Friday, March 16 and the deadline for the Senate letter is March 23.

Senate Global Competitiveness Hearing Focuses on CTE

Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing, The Key to America’s Global Competitiveness: A Quality Education, which is part of a series focused on rebuilding the middle-class. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Michael Enzi (WY) said that there is a major deficit of skilled workers in this country which threatens our ability to grow our economy. He went on to say, “The federal government does have a role to play in improving the education of our nation’s children through programs supported under the Head Start Act, the Elementary and Secondary Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act.”

Dr. Richard Murnane from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education pointed out that not all high students want or need to pursue a four-year college degree: “Many want to enroll in two-year vocationally oriented education and training programs…Some want to pursue traditional trades such as plumber and electrician and others want to enter new trades, many related to technology and health. These trades, some old and some new, provide many opportunities to do valuable work and to earn a good living.” He was clear however, that all students should graduate college and career ready, because most jobs require some education or training beyond high school.

Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) asked the witnesses what the best way is to get business and industry to work with high schools to train students for jobs. Dr. Murnane said that career academies are doing this well by connecting schools with employers and helping students learn the technical and cognitive skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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More Information on President’s Career Academy Proposal

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As we told you a few weeks ago, in his FY13 budget, President Obama proposed a $1 billion investment in career academies. In a fact sheet released by the Department of Education, there are new details to share. According to the Department:

“Through this new initiative, States would award competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and local employers, creating 3,000 new career academies and increasing the number of students served by 50 percent. This means that half a million more students would have access to programs that studies suggest can lead to higher earnings and better academic outcomes.”

As we learn more about this and other proposals in the President’s budget, we will be sure to share that information with you.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Budget Level Funds Perkins; Invests in Career Academies and Community Colleges

Monday, February 13th, 2012

President Obama released his FY13 budget today, and there is good news for CTE! The President proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants, and plans to release a reauthorization proposal that “would restructure CTE to align what students learn in school with the demands of 21st Century jobs.” While the budget does not include specifics about what this proposal will look like, a budget summary released by the Department of Education states that their proposal would increase the rigor and relevance of CTE and strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary education. In addition to Perkins Act funding, the budget proposes an investment of $1 billion over three years to scale up career academies.

Some other highlights of the budget that may be of interest:

We are continuing to analyze the budget, and will update you on any additional information that could impact CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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