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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Congress Announces Stopgap Funding Bill

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September 12, 2012

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Congress Announces Stopgap Funding Bill

Yesterday, House appropriators released a measure that will provide funding for federal programs, including Perkins, for the first six months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), the bill will essentially keep funding on autopilot until March 27, preventing a government shutdown when the current fiscal year ends on October 1.

The Good News: We are pleased to report that Perkins will be level-funded for this six-month period! In addition, because actual spending in FY 2012 was lower than expected, giving appropriators more room under the agreed-upon budget caps than anticipated, the CR also proposes a 0.6 percent across-the-board increase for all government programs on top of level funding.

The Not-so-Good News: While this is a positive development, it’s important to remember that this is a short-term measure and a full-year funding bill is far from complete—making this increase essentially “only on paper.” Since the first FY 2013 Perkins allocation will not go out to schools until July (four months after this CR expires) this increase will not be seen on the ground in its current form. It would have to be included in a final, full-year appropriations bill for FY 2013 to be included in next July’s allocation.

Even though both House and Senate appropriators have put forward full-year appropriations bills, this CR was necessary because efforts to move bills through the regular process have stymied in Congress, with all sides unwilling to negotiate a deal before the election. Fiscal conservatives in Congress, who have pushed for reductions in spending, are betting that election outcomes will give them more leverage to demand greater cuts when they revisit the full-year bill in the spring. So, even though both the House and Senate appropriations committees approved level funding for Perkins in their original bills, and a slight increase is included in the CR, our funding is still in danger!

The House is expected to vote on the CR later this week, followed by the Senate. Though the election will have a major impact on how the FY 2013 appropriations process continues from here, it is clear that this funding battle has merely been postponed for now. Perkins funding is secure for the short term but we must continue to keep up the pressure on Congress and let them know how critical Perkins is to CTE!

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