Duncan Defends FY 15 Budget Request with Senate Appropriators
May 2, 2014
Duncan Defends FY 15 Budget Request with Senate
Following his appearance at the House Education and the
Workforce Committee earlier this week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan went before the Senate Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee on
Wednesday to defend the Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chairman of the subcommittee, noted that the
department’s FY 2015 budget request includes a significant increase for
education funding overall—more than $1 billion above the current fiscal year.
Despite the overall increase requested for education, the department’s budget
plan only proposes to level fund the Perkins CTE State Grant program at $1.118 billion.
Chairman Harkin criticized the House-passed budget resolution written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). The Ryan budget proposal would maintain the $1.014 trillion
discretionary spending cap for FY 2015 that was established in the Bipartisan
Budget Act of 2013, but it would implement significant funding reductions
beginning in FY 2016. Harkin noted that under the Ryan budget, non-defense
discretionary funding, which includes education and workforce training
programs, would be cut by almost 9 percent in FY 2016, with $791 billion in
reductions over 10 years.
The subcommittee’s top ranking Republican, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), expressed his reluctance over the department’s focus on
competitive grant programs in education. “I remain concerned that this Administration
continues its emphasis on competitive grant funding and, once again, the budget
directs new or increased funding primarily to competitive grant programs,” said
Sen. Moran. The budget request for CTE
has a recommended set aside of $100 million from the Perkins state grant
program for a new competitive CTE innovation fund. Sec. Duncan was challenged on this proposal
during his previous appearances in the House. Sen. Moran argued that the department should not
be “picking winners and losers” among states and school districts through the
use of competitive grants.