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Possible Budget Deal Reached by Negotiators

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December 11, 2013

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Possible Budget Deal Reached by Negotiators

On December 10, a budget agreement was reached by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to set new federal spending caps, restore a portion of the sequestration cuts and allow the appropriations process to move forward under regular order. The modest deal, termed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, would replace a total of $63 billion of sequester cuts over two years, but still cuts the deficit by $23 billion due to the inclusion of increased fees and other non-tax revenue. Passage of the deal should limit the threat of another government shutdown in January when the current continuing resolution expires.

Under the agreement, the negotiated spending cap of $1.012 trillion for FY 14 would be higher than the original House-passed total ($967 billion), but lower than that proposed by the Senate ($1.058 trillion). The sequestration relief provided in FY 14 would be evenly split between defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending accounts, which has been a major goal of ACTE and partner organizations. The NDD relief would amount to enough funding to restore 87% of the cuts that were put into place through sequestration last year, raising the spending cap in this area from the current $469 billion to $492 billion.

Within these higher caps, Congress would be able to begin restoring some of the devastating sequester cuts that occurred last year, opening the door for increases to programs like Perkins. Joel Packer, executive director of the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition ACTE works closely with, explains the importance of the deal to education, saying that this is a "funding level that stops moving investments in education backward but instead turns the corner so we can start catching up to where we were."

However, the Bipartisan Budget Act must be approved by the House and Senate and signed by the president in order for the new caps to take effect. Leaders in the House and Senate have spoken out in support of the bill, although concerns remain on both sides of the aisle. The House is expected to consider the deal on the floor on Thursday or Friday, and it is important that you connect with policymakers to let them know you support this initial step toward replacing sequestration. Contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support a budget plan that allow for the potential of restoring funding for CTE!

Update 12/13/13:
The House approved the Bipartisan Budget Act on December 12 by a vote of 332-94, and it now awaits Senate action, which is likely to occur on Tuesday, December 17. Once the bill has passed the Senate, the hard work of determining individual appropriations bill and program funding levels will begin in earnest, and CTE advocates will need to weigh in to promote a restoration of Perkins funding.

 

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