CHN: Senate Committee Approves Labor-HHS-Education Bill
Committee Provides More Discretionary Spending Than President’s Request
Increasing discretionary spending by $5.8 billion over the President’s request, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the fiscal year 2003 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill on Thursday, July 18. Most notably, the measure – passed by a unanimous vote – will reach the Senate floor with an increase of $2.8 billion in discretionary funding for education.
Overall, the Senate appropriations bill for fiscal year 2003 is seven percent higher than last year. The measure provides a total of $432.5 billion – $136.7 billion of which is discretionary spending – for the Labor, HHS, and Education departments. President Bush requested a discretionary total of $131 billion.
The House version of the fiscal year 2003 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill is not expected to move beyond committee before the August recess. According to Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH), chairman of the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee, House appropriators will not exceed the President’s discretionary mark of $131 billion.
The Senate Appropriations Committee-approved Labor-HHS-Education spending bill appropriated the following levels of funding for these select federal departments, agencies, and programs:
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JOB TRAINING: The Senate bill restores over $500 million in cuts to job training programs. The President’s budget cuts adult job training by $50 million and youth training by $362 million. The President’s budget completely eliminates the $81 million migrant and seasonal farm worker program.
JOB CORPS: The measure provides $1.5 billion for Job Corps, an increase of $59.7 million over last year.
DISLOCATED WORKER TRAINING: The Senate bill provides $1.54 billion for dislocated worker training, an increase of $177.5 million over last year, and $166 million more than the President’s request. These funds assist workers affected by mass layoffs and plant closures.
WORKER PROTECTION PROGRAMS: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Mine Safety Health Administration, Employment Standards Administration, and the National Labor Relations Board are increased by inflation.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT (SSBG): The Senate bill appropriates $1.7 billion for SSBG. The amount of TANF funding available for transfer into SSBG is maintained at 10 percent.
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: The bill would increase NIH funding by $3.7 billion, bringing the total to $27.2 billion. This is $25 million over the President’s request, and would achieve the goal of doubling NIH funding over the next five years.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS: The Senate bill includes $1.5 billion for Community Health Centers. This figure is $75 million more than the President requested and $190 million more than last year.
HEAD START: The Senate bill provides $6.87 billion for Head Start, an increase of $332 million over last year, thus serving 17,000 additional children.
LOW INCOME HOME EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP): The bill maintains LIHEAP funding at $1.7 billion. This is $300 million more than the President’s budget request.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
TITLE I: Funding for Title I – a program that provides aid to states and school districts to help poor and educationally disadvantaged students – is $11.85 billion, $1.5 billion more than last year and $500 million beyond the President’s request. Title I funds will be instrumental in implementing the recently passed omnibus education bill.
PELL GRANTS: Pell grant funding is slightly increased. Pell grants assist low and moderate-income undergraduate students with the costs of postsecondary education and vocational training.
RURAL EDUCATION: The Senate bill provides an increase to $175 million in funding for the rural education program for fiscal year 2003. Last year’s total was $162.5 million.
TEACHER QUALITY: The Senate bill provides an increase of $250 million in teacher quality activities, for a total of $3.1 billion. President Bush’s request does not include funding for teacher quality initiatives. These funds may be used for the certification, recruitment, professional development, and support of teachers.
READING FIRST: The Senate bill provides $1 billion for Reading First – a program aimed at helping states and school districts administer literacy programs to ensure that all students can read by the third grade. This is an increase of $100 million over last year.
TRIO: The TRIO Program for minority and disadvantaged youth received $832.5 million. This is an increase of $30 million over both last year’s level and the President’s budget request.
21st CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS: Funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers is at $1.09 billion, an increase of $90 million over last year and the Administration’s budget request.
BILINGUAL EDUCATION: The bill appropriates $740 million for bilingual education programs, $75 million more than fiscal year 2002 and the President’s request.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The Senate bill matches the President’s request for special education funding, appropriating $8.5 billion for special education state grants. This figure is $1 billion higher than last year’s funding level.