As the self-imposed deadline of December 13 approached for Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R- WI) to reach an agreement, the two announced the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 on December 10 which will replace $63 billion of sequester cuts over two years, evenly divided between defense and non-defense programs.
This deal will replace 87% of the fiscal year 2013 non-defense discretionary (NDD) sequester cuts in fiscal year 2014. Non-defense discretionary funding is the category of the federal budget that covers almost all domestic federal programs, including investments in education. For fiscal year 2015, the deal replaces $18 billion of sequestration cuts and raises the NDD spending cap slightly to $492.5 billion.
The Bipartisan Budget Act will be considered first by the House of Representatives then the Senate. It is expected to be voted on the in the House on Friday, then the Senate early next week. If the bill is signed into law, the various appropriations committees will be able to generate spending bills under the new levels before the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution (CR) which expires on January 15.
“We are generally pleased,” Joel Packer, Executive Director of the Committee for Education (CEF) said. “While not what we ideally hoped for, which was a complete replacement of the entire sequester for the remaining eight years, this deal does stop the cuts.” CEF is a coalition of 112 national education organizations and institutions of which NASSP is a member, who lobbies on behalf of increased investments in education.
The next important juncture for education funding will come with the top line spending level provided to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee which funds a vast majority of education programs including Title I, IDEA and the school leadership program which NASSP closely tracks. Stay up to date with the latest on the federal budget and education policy here on the Principals’ Policy Blog and by following Amanda and Jacki on twitter at @akarhuse and @balljacki.