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Congress Fails to Reverse Sequestration


March 1, 2013


Congress Fails to Reverse Sequestration

Yesterday, the Senate voted on two pieces of legislation that would replace the automatic, across-the-board sequestration cuts with alternative deficit reduction plans. Sequestration will officially go into effect at 11:59p.m. Today, Friday, March 1. Senate Republicans and Democrats both put forward competing bills in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the sequester. Both measures were defeated along party lines, ensuring that sequestration will be unavoidable.

The Republican plan (S. 16) would have granted the president freedom to redistribute the $85 billion in cuts among defense and non-defense discretionary programs—eliminating the across-the-board application of cuts to nearly every federal program— but would not have included any new revenue. By contrast, the Democratic plan (S. 338) sought to replace the sequester with a combination of targeted cuts and increased revenue. With both parties working on very different alternative plans, neither bill had any real chance of fixing the problem before the Friday deadline.

It is estimated that sequestration will result in a 5 percent reduction to discretionary funding in the current fiscal year. For Perkins specifically, this will mean $56 million less in funds for community colleges, area CTE centers and high school CTE programs. One bright spot for CTE funding, the cut will be applied to a Perkins allocation that will not be issued to states until July for the 2013-14 school year. While many areas of the federal budget will feel the effects of the sequester right away, Congress and the Administration still have a chance to reach a balanced solution before this indiscriminate cut can do irreparable harm to essential Perkins funds.

Washington must set aside partisan bickering and consider the impact on students, job seekers, educators and the economy. This chart shows just how much your state stands to lose in Perkins funding as a result of sequestration. Tell Congress that it’s time to get to work on a real solution that protects funding for CTE!   

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