House Appropriations Committee Rejects Amendment to Restore TQP Grant Funding
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations marked up the FY17 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) funding bill. This was the last of the 12 appropriations bills to be marked up by the full committee prior to the congressional recess.
During the markup, members of the committee submitted 32 amendments seeking to restore or increase funding to programs, clarify language, or repeal policy riders. Of key interest to educator preparation is an amendment offered by Representative David Price (D-NC) to restore funding for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the only federal grant program designed to reform and strengthen teacher preparation across the nation. (See our fact sheet for an overview of the TQP grant program.) The son of two teachers, Price spoke passionately of his support for the TQP program and the work of grantees to strengthen teacher preparation. Unfortunately, this amendment failed, but the chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), committed to further conversations on the matter as the appropriations process unfolds.
Ultimately the bill passed out of committee by a vote of 31-19 down party lines, with many cuts to education programs and with policy riders – both of which received heavy criticism from Democratic members of the committee. Although there is little expectation at the moment that the policy riders will survive negotiations between the House and the Senate (which passed a bipartisan bill with no policy riders), the House bill does include a policy rider prohibiting the teacher preparation program regulations.
The next congressional action will take place in September, when lawmakers will pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until an unknown date – possibly December 2016, March 2017, or even September 2017.