Federal Legislative Report 116-05

Delivered via email: Septebmer 10, 2019


As both House and Senate members return to Washington, D.C. after their August recess, the main focus will be FY20 appropriations, as the end of the current fiscal year is September 30.

In late July, Senate and House leaders reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal with President Trump, separate from the FY20 appropriations process. The measure increases aggregate spending by $320 billion over the next two fiscal years and lifts the debt ceiling until 2021. Included in the increase is an aggregate $57 billion increase for non-defense programs, including education. Absent a deal to increase the spending caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011, federal education spending was expected to decline for the next fiscal year.

For FY20 appropriations, as reported in the last Federal Legislative Report (116-04), the House passed their version in late June, which included substantial funding increases for education.  The focus is now on the Senate where staff had been working over the August recess to prepare for a push for a final vote before the end of September. However, it has been reported recently that Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has indicated he intends to decrease the allocation for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee by $5 billion and redirect the funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall expansion. Senate and House Democrats have expressed opposition to this decision, and there are no indications that there are enough votes to approve this shift. It is uncertain if the Senate can complete their work before the end of the fiscal year with this idea on the table.