Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Senate Invokes Cloture on ED Jobs, Clearing Way to Passage

Today, the Senate invoked cloture on the Murray-Harkin (Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA)) amendment to H.R. 1586, by a 61-38 vote. The amendment was inserted into the bill after H.R. 1586, the FAA reauthorization bill, failed to pass. The amendment provides $10 billion for education jobs and $16.1 billion for federal Medicaid payments. This amendment is different than the other versions, because the funding included is fully offset with rescissions. The amendment still needs to be passed, but the cloture marked a pivotal moment. The funding for education jobs is allocated solely for K-12, but states provide assurances on funding for K-12 and higher education. If the Senate passes the bill, the House will need to pass it as well. With the House of Representatives out for the summer recess period, PeSpeaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) just announced that the House will be called into session next week to pass the bill once the Senate completes action.

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed S. 3686, its version of the on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education FY2011 appropriations bill, by a party-line vote of 18-12. The bill provides over $170 billion in discretionary funding, and $66.4 billion is allocated for the Department of Education. The bill provides funds for a $5,550 Pell Grant maximum, but it does not contain funds to address the $5.7 billion Pell Grant shortfall. This year, the Senate will provide over $2.7 billion more than the FY2010 allocation, but this amount is still almost $1 billion less than the Administration’s request. The Committee did not fund the Career Pathways Program, noting the new Community College and Career Training Grant program. Senate leadership remarked that Congress is very unlikely to consider a final appropriations bill until after the fall elections.

The Committee released a summary of the appropriations bill, which can viewed at:

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