Congress Fails to Reverse Sequestration
Yesterday, the Senate voted on two pieces of legislation
that would replace the automatic, across-the-board sequestration cuts with
alternative deficit reduction plans. Sequestration will officially go into
effect at 11:59p.m. Today, Friday, March
1. Senate Republicans and Democrats both put forward competing bills in a
last-ditch attempt to prevent the sequester. Both measures were defeated along
party lines, ensuring that sequestration will be unavoidable.
The Republican plan (S. 16) would have granted the
president freedom to redistribute the $85 billion in cuts among defense and
non-defense discretionary programs—eliminating the across-the-board application
of cuts to nearly every federal program— but would not have included any new
revenue. By contrast, the Democratic plan (S. 338) sought to replace the
sequester with a combination of targeted cuts and increased revenue. With both
parties working on very different alternative plans, neither bill had any real chance
of fixing the problem before the Friday deadline.
It is estimated that sequestration will result in a 5 percent reduction to discretionary funding in the current fiscal year. For
Perkins specifically, this will mean $56 million less in funds for community
colleges, area CTE centers and high school CTE programs. One bright spot for
CTE funding, the cut will be applied to a Perkins allocation that will not be
issued to states until July for the 2013-14 school year. While many areas of
the federal budget will feel the effects of the sequester right away, Congress
and the Administration still have a chance to reach a balanced solution before
this indiscriminate cut can do irreparable harm to essential Perkins funds.
Washington must set aside partisan bickering and consider
the impact on students, job seekers, educators and the economy. This chart shows just how much your state stands to lose in Perkins funding as a result of
Congress that it’s time to get to work on a real solution that protects
funding for CTE!