Friday, July 16, 2010

House Subcommittee Moves Education Funding Bill

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education passed its $176.4 billion FY2011 appropriations bill by a party-line vote. The bill’s total education funding level is $1.4 billion less than the Administration’s request. The bill increases funding for the Pell Grant program by $5.7 billion, but it is unclear whether the purpose of the increase is to make up for the shortfall, increase the maximum amount for individual Pell Grants, or accommodate the increasing number of students. A number of proposed amendments were defeated, including an anti-Dream Act amendment. The bill now heads to the full committee, but it is unclear whether the committee will consider the bill or head directly to the House floor. In all likelihood, Congress will not finish these bills until after the fall elections.

A table summarizing the allocation of funds can be viewed on the House Appropriations Committee website at: The full program funding levels will only be introduced if the bill is considered by the full committee or the House.

The Senate leadership continues to discuss next steps for the supplemental appropriations bill. It appears that leadership will attempt to hold a cloture vote on the bill, which will likely fail. With the resulting action, the House will likely need to adopt the Senate’s supplemental bill. The House passed the Senate’s bill but added $10 billion for education jobs and $4.9 billion to cover the Pell Grant shortfall. Although the new funding is offset, it appears that there is sufficient opposition to the inclusion of these funds to block passage of the bill.

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