House Appropriators Scrutinize President’s Budget
April 2, 2012
Last week, appropriators in the House held a series of hearings on President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget requests for the Departments of Education and Labor. As the FY 13 budget and appropriations process moves forward, these hearings allow Congress to further scrutinize the Administration’s proposals to fund education and workforce training programs.
On Tuesday, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee heard the testimony of school superintendents from across the country about the possible impact of the President’s budget plan on local school districts. Committee members and the witnesses expressed concerns about proposed increases for funding new and existing competitive education grants, like Race to the Top, while not increasing formula-funded programs. Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) questioned whether smaller and rural school district would have the capacity to vie for competitive grants against wealthier and larger districts. The witnesses indicated that they would prefer see increases in formula funding through programs like IDEA and Title I.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was on Capitol Hill to defend her department’s budget request before appropriators on Wednesday. Republican members of the subcommittee criticized the Labor Department’s proposals to amend the rules related to agriculture and child labor. Solis stressed safety as her primary concern and indicated that they did not intend for these rules to preclude agricultural education opportunities. She promised to thoroughly review the over 10,000 comments submitted to the Department on the issue and to take those concerns into account when writing the final rule.