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Congress approves Continuing Resolution to fund government through December 8; Senate Committee approves Labor-HHS-Education spending bill

  ·   By Katie Spiker,
Congress approves Continuing Resolution to fund government through December 8; Senate Committee approves Labor-HHS-Education spending bill

Earlier today, the House voted 316-90 to approve a catch-all bill combining emergency relief funds for Hurricane Harvey with a temporary suspension of the federal debt ceiling and a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December 8th. The legislation reflects an unexpected compromise reached earlier this week by President Trump and Democratic leaders, and allows Congress to avoid a potential government default or shutdown at the end of September while setting up a contentious battle over final spending levels heading into the holidays.

Congress and the administration face a number of challenges in reaching a final agreement on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending, including whether to include funding for border wall construction – a significant priority for the president – and whether to increase the statutory budget caps for defense and non-defense programs that are currently in place under the 2011 Budget Control Act. By linking the debt ceiling and appropriations timelines, the legislation puts pressure on legislators to reach bipartisan agreement on spending and may lead to an increase in non-defense spending, although fiscal conservatives in both the House and Senate are likely to strongly resist any efforts that do not result in spending cuts.     

With this extended timeline, the Senate Appropriations committee continued to work on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending bills, voting to approve  their Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) bill on September 7th.

The Senate bill largely maintains workforce and education funding at current FY 2017 levels, including state formula grants under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), adult education grants under Title II of WIOA, and Perkins career and technical education (CTE) state grants. The bill would include modest cuts to the Workforce Data Quality Initiative – cutting funding from $6 million to $5 million – and to state Employment Service (ES) grants under Title III of WIOA.  

The bill maintains $95 million in spending for apprenticeship. In their report on the bill, the committee noted support for “funding and development of industry or sector partnerships as a means of closing the skills gap and expanding apprenticeships in in-demand industries.”

The Senate FY 2018 bill would increase the annual maximum Pell award by $100, to $6,020 and would maintain year-round Pell. However, it would rescind $2.6 billion in prior year funding, which - while not impacting awards for the upcoming school year – leaves the program less able to respond to potential enrollment increases in future years.

Overall, the Senate bill is better for workforce and education programs than the House version passed by committee in July. The House bill would cut WIOA formula funding by 3 percent and eliminated funding for WIOA Title III Employment Service state grants, funding for apprenticeship, and Workforce Data Quality Initiative funding. The House bill also included a Pell rescission of $3.3 billion, and did not include the increase in the maximum award proposed by the Senate. The full House is expected to vote on their version of the Labor-HHS as part of a larger omnibus spending package next week, but this bill is not expected to receive a Senate vote and will serve mostly as a starting point for House negotiators heading into the year-end discussions.

National Skills Coalition has joined with more than fifty organizations as part of the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW) to urge House and Senate Appropriators to invest in critical workforce education and training programs and to work with leadership to raise budget caps. NSC urges state and local advocates to continue to reach out to their members with support for key workforce education and training programs. NSC will continue to work with CIAW and other stakeholders to ensure Congress prioritizes investments in the programs that help our workers develop skills businesses need to be competitive. 

 

Selected Education and Workforce Programs

FY 2017 Omnibus

FY 2018 House Labor-HHS-ED bill

FY 2018 Senate Labor-HHS-ED bill

Department of Labor

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I – State Formula Grants

$2,709,832,000

$2,624,108,000

$2,709,832,000

    WIOA Adult

$815,556,000

$776,736,000

$815,556,000

    WIOA Dislocated    Worker (includes national reserve)**

$1,241,719,000

 

$1,145,530,000

$1,241,719,000

    WIOA Youth

$873,416,000

$831,842,000

$873,416,000

Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service Grants

$671,413,000

$0

$666,413,000

Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants

$6,000,000

$0

$5,000,000

Apprenticeship Grants

$95,000,000

$0

$95,000,000

Native American Programs

$50,000,000

$50,000,000

$50,000,000

Ex-Offender Activities

$88,078,000

$82,078,000

$88,078,000

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

$81,896,000

$72,000,000

$81,896,000

Youth Build

$84,534,000

$84,534,000

$84,534,000

Department of Education

Career and Technical Education State Grants

$1,117,598,000

$1,117,598,000

$1,117,598,000

Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants

$581,955,000

$581,955,000

$581,955,000

 

** House bill includes $200 million rescission of FY 2017 DW National Reserve funds not reflected in totals above

Posted In: Federal Funding