Note: This story was updated on Sept. 29
The Senate Appropriation Committee approved a spending bill for the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services tomorrow that would maintain or increase spending on major youth services, including the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The committee approved spending recommendations today that cut $308 million in funding for the three agencies from fiscal 2011 levels, including the elimination of 15 programs. The 2011 budget negotiations, which ended with a last-minute deal in the spring, cut 46 programs totaling $1.3 billion in spending.
“Last year we cut the fat and went into the bone,” said subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “In this, we’re getting into the bone marrow.”
The bill provides discretionary totals of $12.69 billion for Labor (up $30 million from 2011), $70.18 billion for HHS (down $260 million) and $68.43 billion for Education (up $80 million).
Harkin also said that this would likely be the only Labor/HHS/Education bill to be voted on in either house for fiscal 2012.
The House Appropriations Committee scheduled a markup of a bill covering the same departments, Harkin said, but the “majority couldn’t muster enough votes to pass it and has abandoned all attempts to do so.”
The bill includes a $340 million increase in Head Start fiscal 2011 funding level of $7.5 billion. The Child Care and Development Block Grant is level-funded at $2.2 billion, and a new program, called Promoting School Readiness for Minors in SSI (PROMISE), is funded at a total of $14 million.
PROMISE would become a joint venture involving all three departments and the Social Security Administration (though the summary only lists $4 million for the Education Department and $10 million for the Social Security Administration) to “improve outcomes for children…receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits.” Though SSI mostly exists to aid people over 65, low-income children with certain disabilities are eligible for the benefits.
The maximum discretionary Pell Grant award remains at $4,860 for the 2012-2013 school year in the bill, and the maximum Pell Grant would remain at $5,550, with $690 in mandatory Pell Grant money for each eligible student coming from the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.
The two major federal funding streams for states – Education for Individuals with Disabilities and Education for the Disadvantaged – were level-funded at $11.5 billion and $14.5 billion, respectively.
The bill includes level funding for President Barack Obama’s signature education reform vehicle, the Race to the Top, at $698.6 million. The bill doubles to $60 million a smaller Obama project: Promise Neighborhoods, a “cradle-to-career” program aimed at violence prevention and educational improvement that is modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone program.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which faced elimination early on in the budget negotiations last year, is recommended for a $17 million increase from its 2011 total of $1.1 billion.
Another project of the Obama administration, the Social Innovation Fund, is level-funded at $49.9 million.
Click here to read the entire Senate bill.