Legislation
House Education Funding Bill Proposes Cuts
Evan Vucci/AP

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education held a meeting yesterday to mark up the fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding bill for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education (ED), and Labor.

 

The House bill contains cuts to education but far fewer than those included in the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 budget proposal.  The legislation also fails to provide funding for the school choice-related programs proposed by the Administration, but does carry over one major cut from the President’s proposal – elimination of funding for Supporting Effective Instruction State grants under Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which currently receives over $2 billion in funds.

 

Overall, ED’s budget will be decreased by $2.4 billion, as opposed to the $9.2 billion proposed by President Trump.  Funding for disadvantaged students under Title I of ESSA and career and technical education would receive approximately the same amount as in the current fiscal year, and ED’s Office for Civil Rights would essentially be flat-funded as well.  Special education grants to States would see a small $200 million boost compared to FY 2017.

 

The ESSA Title IV 21st Century programs, which were on the chopping block in the Administration’s proposed budget, would receive $200 million less, while the new ESSA Title IV block grant will still be funded much lower than the authorized level of $1.6 billion.  The bill calls for $500 million for that block grant – an increase $100 million compared to final FY 2017 appropriation.

 

The Education and Innovation Research program, which the Trump Administration hoped to use to expand school choice, will be completely eliminated.  The House bill does provide an increase for charter school grants, though not as high as the Administration requested.  The charter school program will get a $28 million boost for a total of $370 million.

 

On the higher education front, the bill calls for a $3.3 rescission of funds from the Pell Grant reserve, and it freezes the maximum Pell Grant award amount at the FY 2017 level of $5,920.  TRIO and GEAR UP programs, which help first generation students prepare for college, would receive an additional $60 million and $10 million, respectively.

 

The Subcommittee voted along party lines in its meeting yesterday to report the bill to the full House Appropriations Committee.  A date for the full committee mark-up has not been officially set, but it is expected to take place next week.
 

Resources:
Andrew Ujifusa, “Like Trump Budget, House Funding Bill Strips Out $2 Billion for Teacher Training,” Education Week: Politics K-12, July 12, 2017.
Doug Lederman, “(Largely) Shunning White House on Higher Ed Spending,” Inside Higher Ed, July 13, 2017.

About the Author

Kelly Christiansen is an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC. Established in 1980, the Firm is nationally recognized for its federal education regulatory and legislative practice, providing legal advice regarding compliance with all major federal education programs as well as the federal grants management requirements, including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). In addition, they work with agencies on federal spending flexibility, allowability, policies and procedures, audit defense and resolution and legislative updates. The Firm provides government relations services for the National Title I Association.