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FY19 Appropriations Move Forward as Election Season Kicks Into High Gear

As the focus of Congress turns toward accumulating “wins” for members to use to get re-elected, the appropriations process has taken an unexpected turn – work is getting done.

As I have shared with AACTE members in recent Federal Update webinars, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL, chair of appropriations in the U.S. Senate) and Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ, chair of appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives) committed to seeing the appropriations process return to “normal” this year–and that commitment is coming to fruition. By the end of June, the Senate had moved all 12 appropriations bills through subcommittee and full committee, and the House is on track to do so by the August recess.

To move bills to the floor, the House and Senate are packaging bills together into “minibuses.” The bill that funds the U.S. Department of Education (the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, aka “Labor-H”) could be packaged with the defense bill–but only time will tell.

Here are the results for selected federal programs important to the education profession:

Teacher Quality Partnership grants $43.1 million, House & Senate (flat funded from FY18
ESSA Title II-A State grants $2.1 billion, House & Senate (flat funded from FY18)
School Personnel Preparation (IDEA) $89 million House (+$5m) and $84 million Senate (flat funded from FY18))
IES $613 million House (flat funded FY18) and $615 million Senate (+$2m for NAEP)
SEED grants $75 million, House & Senate (flat funded from FY18)

Moving Forward

While the Senate will remain in session for a chunk of August, the House will go into recess July 27, slowing down appropriations action. In September, we will see bills move, but also expect to see a continuing resolution into November or December. This timeline could change depending on how the election is looking closer to the end of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2018).

Expect to see action in the session post-election known as the “lame duck,” including on appropriations, but possibly also on legislation such as the PROSPER Act, H.R. 4508, which is the House reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. AACTE members can stay tuned via our Federal Update webinars (dates TBD), and our AACTE Action Alerts are open to anyone wanting to advocate on behalf of the profession–sign up and take action on PROSPER by clicking http://bit.ly/OpposePROSPERact.

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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE