Senate Subcommittee Passes Appropriations Bill
June 13, 2012
On Tuesday, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee held a markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriations bill, which includes funding for education and workforce training programs like Perkins. The full Senate Appropriations Committee will now have to approve the bill before it goes to the Senate floor. They are expected to vote on the bill Thursday, June 14. The committee will likely not release the exact funding level for Perkins and other programs until after that markup.
The bill passed the subcommittee on Tuesday by a party-line vote, with Republican members in opposition. Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) lamented the lack of bipartisan support for the bill that he called fiscally responsible and aligned with spending levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act. Ranking Republican Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) expressed concerns about curbing government spending and the need to reduce the national debt. However, he also acknowledged that a balanced budget will never be achieved through reductions in discretionary spending alone. Republicans cited funding for President Obama’s health care reforms law, known as “obamacare,” as their primary reason for opposing the bill. Sen. Shelby vowed not to support any appropriations measure that includes funding for health care reform and argued for defunding all discretionary spending for the law.
Tuesday’s markup was the first major step in the FY 2013 funding process for Perkins and other education programs. The House Appropriations Committee has not yet scheduled a markup for their bill, but it is expected to happen in the next few weeks.