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Federal Legislative Report 112-5

Delivered via email: April 3, 2012


The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a budget resolution ( H. Con. Res 112 ) for FY13 by a vote of 228-191. The resolution includes a reduction of $26 billion below current FY12 funding levels for non-defense programs, including education. The House Resolution sets it at $1.028 trillion, or $19 billion below the Budget Control Act level of $1.047 trillion.

However, there is opposition in the Senate, as senators are upholding the overall budget allocation for FY13 established by the Budget Control Act. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) stated in a letter to House leaders expressing “concern that the House is considering setting a discretionary spending level that differs from the Fiscal Year 2013 level established by law just seven months ago.”


Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing to review the President's FY13 Budget Proposal for the U.S. Department of Education.   Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified and fielded questions regarding the Administration's proposal to freeze funding for special education. (Last week, Secretary Duncan faced similar questions from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health & Human Services-Education.)

Committee chairman John Kline (R-MN) said that despite ramping up funding for pet projects and unauthorized programs, such as Race to the Top, school improvement grants, Investing in Innovation, and others, “I am disappointed the President's budget proposal once again neglects to increase support for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)."

On March 19, Chairman Kline forwarded a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee requesting an increase in funding for special education in FY13 appropriations. The letter states that, "In Fiscal Year 2012, the federal government is covering just 16.3 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure," versus the 40 percent promise made through the IDEA, which authorized federal funding to cover up to 40 percent of the additional cost of educating students with disabilities.

In the Senate, 29 senators forwarded a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, urging "the highest possible funding for IDEA in the Labor HHS-Education appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013."


Secretary Duncan expressed to Congress that the Department of Education intends to use FY12 Race to the Top funds for both a district level competition and another round of Early Learning Challenge grants. The FY12 Consolidated Appropriations Act allows it to issue approximately $549 million in Race to the Top grants to local education agencies by allowing them to apply directly, rather than going through their respective state agencies. The details, however, have yet to be worked out.

This Federal Legislative Report is used to forward information on federal issues from NSBA and other federal sources. Those interested in additional information or signing up for these free reports should contact Susan Hilton .

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