Wednesday, December 1, 2010

House Passes Two-Week Stop Gap Funding Bill: DREAM Act Vote on the Horizon

Today, the House of Representatives by a vote of 239-178 passed a two-week continuing resolution to fund the government until December 18. The Senate will now consider the legislation. For the past month, Congressional leaders and the Administration have been working to resolve the FY11 appropriations bills. The current continuing resolution will have expired this Friday, December 3. The discussions are now centered on a short-term or long-term continuing resolution or an Omnibus Appropriations bill. Appropriations leaders are supporting an effort to finalize an Omnibus Appropriations bill because the funding totals will be higher and the bill will include Congressional earmarks. Either way, leaders are crafting a bill that will be funded at a substantially lower level than that of the President's budget request. Furthermore, the $5.7 billion Pell Grant shortfall continues to be an issue that will likely need to be addressed next year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that there may be a vote to consider the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill this week. While the bill has majority support, it still appears that the bill lacks the 60 votes necessary to proceed. ACCT is a member of the Act on the DREAM Coalition and supports the passage of the bill. In a move that complicates all Senate action, all Senate Republicans sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid stating that they would not vote for cloture on any bill until the Senate resolves the federal funding bills and the Bush-era income tax cuts are extended.

Also today, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which was tasked to address our nation's fiscal challenges, released its report, the Moment of Truth. The Commission was charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Of note, the report stated that increased funding should be focused on “high-priority investments America will need to remain competitive, such as increasing college graduation rates.”

The report can be viewed here.

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