Senate Approves FY19 Appropriations Bill that Includes Key Education and Workforce Programs

As Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) winds down for the government, Congress is working to advance FY19 appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about the path forward for the FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill and the U.S. Department of Education’s back to school tour.

Senate Votes 93-7 to Advance FY19 Appropriations Bill 

On September 13, the conference committee (comprised of members of both the House and Senate that was formed to negotiate the FY19 appropriations bill for Labor-HHS-Ed) released their agreement. The bill includes appropriations for education and workforce programs. On September 18, the Senate voted 93-7 to approve the bill, which is bundled with the Defense appropriations bill, as well as a continuing resolution that would run through December 7 to extend current funding levels for other government agencies without final appropriations bills in place by October 1. The bill heads to House for a vote next week and if passed, will go to the President for his signature.

We were excited to see that the bill passed by the Senate includes a $70 million increase in the federal investment in Perkins Basic State Grants. Other notable increases included additional support for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Apprenticeship grants and a $100 increase in the maximum award for Pell grants (but this draws down the Pell reserve, the unobligated funds for the program that have been previously appropriated by Congress). You can find the bill’s specific levels of investment in key U.S. Department of Education programs in this table from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) and in key U.S. Department of Labor programs in this table from National Skills Coalition.

The bill also contains that language about the proposed consolidation of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and the Office of Postsecondary Education into one Office of Postsecondary and Lifelong Learning, noting that, “In particular, the conferees recognize the value of the Office of English Language Acquisition and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and are concerned that the elimination or consolidation of either office will undermine the ability of the Department to fulfill not only its mission, but also congressional directives to implement relevant programs and purposes. Further, the conferees note that OCTAE is authorized expressly in statute and cannot be consolidated or reorganized except by specific authority granted by Congress.”

Assistant Secretary Stump Goes on Back to School Tour

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education began its back to school tour with travel across the country under the guiding theme of “Rethink School,” emphasizing innovative programs in education. On Tuesday, September 11, as part of this tour, Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education, traveled to the Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His tour featured the Center’s 40 CTE programs, small business incubator and college preparatory career academies. On Wednesday, September 12, Assistant Secretary Stump spent time in Wichita, Kansas at the National Center for Aviation Training, where high school students are able to achieve a technical certification in aviation production and maintenance that leads to a career in aviation.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

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