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Perkins Funding Bill Passes First Hurdle in Senate

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July 10, 2013

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Perkins Funding Bill Passes First Hurdle in Senate

Yesterday, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 appropriations bill. While the individual allocation for Perkins will not be officially announced until the bill is taken up by the full appropriations committee on Thursday, it included an overall increase for the Department of Education of $1.4 billion. The bill also seeks to address the effects of sequestration, which has resulted in an across-the-board cut to most discretionary programs, including a $58 million reduction in Perkins funding for the 2013-14 school year.

By contrast, the House Appropriations Committee has doubled down on the sequestration cuts for non-defense funding and has proposed an overall funding level for Labor-HHS-Education programs that is 26 percent below the Senate. Though House appropriators have not yet unveiled their Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, the lower overall funding level will likely mean significant cuts to most programs within the bill.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate have lamented that the disparate funding levels will make it extremely unlikely that the two chambers will be able to reconcile their appropriations bills. “They [House Republicans] claim that they can pass a Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that is 26 percent below the level of the bill that is before us today,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). “If so, let them put their cards on the table. They have a responsibility to explain to the American people exactly how they plan to achieve such a radical reduction.”

We alerted the CTE community to the committee action on the appropriations bill this week. There is still time to contact your Senator and urge them to make funding Perkins a priority in the bill!

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