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Congress Finalizes Stopgap Spending Bill Including Funding for Perkins

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September 24, 2012

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Congress Finalizes Stopgap Spending Bill Including Funding for Perkins

Congress has officially closed up shop and temporarily suspended its legislative work to focus efforts on the upcoming elections. Both the House and the Senate are now on recess until November when the hectic “lame duck” session will begin in earnest. There were, however, a few important pieces of unfinished business that had to be completed before Members could leave town for good. The most critical being a stopgap spending bill that will keep the government running past October 1.

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, the Senate passed a six-month Continuing Resolution (CR) that will take effect next week, the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, and will last until March 27.  The CR was necessary because the House and Senate were unable to complete their FY 2013 appropriations work before the deadline. The House has already approved the short-term measure that will essentially keep funding on autopilot until the spring. We are pleased to report that the CR provides level-funding for Perkins! Additionally, 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. But because this is only a short-term measure and Perkins allocations will not go out to schools until July (four months after this CR expires), you will likely not see any increase in funding at the local level.

While this key federal investment in CTE remains intact for now, there are still many potential threats to Perkins funding looming on the horizon. The most perilous being the 8.2 percent across-the-board cuts through sequestration that will go into effect January 2, unless Congress finds a balanced approach to fixing it. Other funding threats could materialize if budget caps are lowered for FY 2013, either through a sequester deal or through other political actions focused on cutting spending. Continue to voice your concerns over Perkins funding with your Members of Congress and let them know how critical Perkins is to CTE! 

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