Congress Reaches Deal on Omnibus Spending Bill
On Friday, April 28, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) extending funding through May 5 to avoid a federal government shutdown. Then working through the weekend, lawmakers reached an agreement on an omnibus appropriations bill (see PDF), which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for approval to fund the government through September 30.
The omnibus encompasses 11 of the 12 federal appropriations bills, as the remaining one – for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs – was completed last year. Included in the education section, which begins on page 1010 of the omnibus bill, is direction for the U.S. Department of Education to begin the work of offering year-round Pell grants. The Teacher Quality Partnership grants and the Special Education Personnel Preparation program are flat-funded. Title II-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the School Leader Recruitment and Support Grants, and the overall budget for the Institute of Education Sciences are reduced. Details on these areas can be found here.
Next attention will turn to the president’s full budget request for FY18, which is due out later this month; the FY18 appropriations process will begin soon thereafter (if not earlier).
In preparation for this process, AACTE is organizing support from state affiliates and organizations for a letter requesting full funding for Title II-A of ESSA. Although this letter is not open to education institutions or individuals, there is still time to add your organization or state affiliate to the letter; contact Zach VanHouten (firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign on. In addition, we are working to enlist members of Congress to sign on to letters in support of the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program. A bipartisan House letter was submitted with 25 signatories, and the Senate letter is open for signatories now.
There is more action to come! Be sure to sign up for the AACTE Action Alerts through our Advocacy Center so that we can e-mail you when advocacy is needed around legislation and federal funding for educator preparation – no need to be an AACTE member!