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House Reinstates Some Funds for 21st Century After-school Program

Prospects for fully funding the 21st Century after-school program grew today as the House of Representatives reinstated $100 million for the program in its budget.

An amendment upping the funds was approved Wednesday night and a spending bill passed the House earlier today.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers provide after-school programs for more than 1.6 million children across the United States through a competitive grant process to states. In 2017 it supported 11,512 programs.

Earlier this year, funding was reduced by $192 million by the House Appropriations Committee. But an amendment brought by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York, gained bipartisan support to raise the amount by $100 million.

The action was a “clear repudiation” of President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut all federal funding for after-school and summer learning programs, according to a statement by the Afterschool Alliance, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

The funding ensures “that afterschool programs serving 100,000 students will not be forced to close their doors because of a cut in federal funding,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant in the statement.

The House and Senate must still come to an agreement on the federal budget. The Senate spending bill that passed last week fully funds the 21st Century program.

As a result of the House action “we really are in a much better position in terms of negotiating,” said Erik Peterson, vice president of policy for the Afterschool Alliance, today.

Congress has a Dec. 8 deadline to agree on a budget as a result of a continuing resolution to fund the government until that date.

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