The House Appropriations Committee released its draft spending bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments, and budget watchers noted deep cuts to federal education funding.
It cuts nearly $3.8 billion from mostly education and healthcare. The National Institutes of Health is one area that gets more money.
You might think the GOP-controlled committee is responsible for these proposed cuts, but it’s really the fault of the Budget Control Act, also known as the sequester, which requires that Congress not increase the deficit.
“There is no good way to allocate this,” says David Reich, a senior policy consultant with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Veterans Affairs scandal means veterans’ medical care will get more money. “There’s a pretty strong consensus that there is a need for a several-billion-dollar increase” at the VA, says Reich. But that means there’s less to go around for everyone else.
The cuts would hit school improvement grants, literacy programs, magnet schools, teen pregnancy reduction programs and more.
Joel Packer from the Raben Group says the deficit has shrunk, so both Democrats and Republicans could work to raise the budget caps.
“Something has to happen by midnight Sept. 30 this year, or the whole federal government shuts down,” Packer says.
But don’t worry too much about this bill becoming law. It also blocks all Affordable Care Act funding, so there’s little to no chance it will be signed into law by President Barack Obama.
The final bill is due for a markup by the full committee on Wednesday.
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