Category Archives: Federal Budget

U.S. House Passes Tax Code Overhaul Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a mammoth federal tax reform plan yesterday on what was essentially a party-line vote.  The final tally on H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), was 227 to 205, with all but 13 Republicans voting in favor of the measure and all Democrats voting against it.

The massive overhaul package, which would slash taxes for businesses and corporations and makes numerous tax changes for individuals, would also increase the national debt by up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Continue reading U.S. House Passes Tax Code Overhaul Bill

Key House Committee Begins Deliberations on Federal Tax Reform Package

The House Committee on Ways and Means convened this afternoon in a  “markup” session to begin consideration of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a tax reform package that would slash corporate income tax rate and some individual income tax rates and raise the standard deduction, offsetting the cost by eliminating some cherished itemized deductions. The legislation is the first draft of a bill for tax reform and is expected to be under consideration by the Committee throughout this week with many possible amendments likely to be taken up.   (A markup session is the name given to when a Congressional committee or subcommittee meets to debate, amend or rewrite a bill. The committee has the option of either accepting or rejecting the final version of the bill that comes out of the markup session.)

Several of bill’s provisions would likely impact school districts in a negative way.  These include:

Continue reading Key House Committee Begins Deliberations on Federal Tax Reform Package

Senate Vote Sets Stage for Party-Line Consideration of Federal Tax Reform

Last night (Oct. 19), the U.S. Senate approved a federal fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, a key procedural step in setting the stage for the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans, to pass a federal income tax reform bill along party lines.

The budget resolution passed by a 51-49 vote, with all Republicans except Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voting in favor and all Democrats opposing.

The U.S. House of Representatives, which is currently in recess until Oct. 23, has already passed a budget resolution of its own.  The Senate’s action, passed as an amendment to the earlier House-passed budge resolution (H.Con. Res. 71), continues momentum toward debate and passage of tax reform.

The final measure will provide instructions for fiscal year 2018 appropriations for education programs for education programs, as well as for tax reform and health care reform.  Moreover, the budget resolution will determine the scope of most legislative priorities for the current session of Congress.

Continue reading Senate Vote Sets Stage for Party-Line Consideration of Federal Tax Reform

Federal Appropriations Bill for Education Gains U.S. Senate Subcommittee Approval

Today (Sept. 6), the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved a bipartisan FY2018 funding bill for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies, that is $3 billion above the FY2017 level and $27.5 billion above the President’s budget request.

The Senate subcommittee also rejected President Trump’s proposed cuts to teacher training and afterschool funding (see below).   Full Senate committee consideration of the funding measure is scheduled for Thursday.  The 2018 federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Here are capsule descriptions of some of the key funding provisions for K-12 education:

Continue reading Federal Appropriations Bill for Education Gains U.S. Senate Subcommittee Approval

New Report Outlines Impact of Senate Health Care Reform Bill on Medicaid

A June 29 Congressional Budget Office report entitled Longer-Term Effects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 on Medicaid Spending projects federal Medicaid spending under the Senate version of the health care reform bill would be 26 percent (or roughly $160 billion) lower in 2026 than under current law.  That gap would widen to about 35 percent in 2036. Continue reading New Report Outlines Impact of Senate Health Care Reform Bill on Medicaid

DeVos Expected to Unveil Trump Administration’s Plans to Encourage Voucher Expansion in Speech Tonight

Tonight in Indianapolis, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to address a gathering of the American Federation for Children (AFC), a national pro-voucher advocacy group that she founded and long headed.   Her appearance before the group comes one day before the Trump Administration’s education budget will be formally unveiled.

During her speech to the AFC’s National Policy Summit, DeVos is expected to unveil the Trump Administration’s school-choice education proposals, which are rumored to include offering tax breaks to parents who send children to religious and other private schools. Continue reading DeVos Expected to Unveil Trump Administration’s Plans to Encourage Voucher Expansion in Speech Tonight

Details of Trump Education Budget Emerge, Public Schools to Face Cuts as School Choice Initiatives Expand

White HouseNew details from the Washington Post confirm that President Trump’s first full federal budget proposal includes a cut of 13.5% ($9.2 billion) to the U.S. Department of Education as signaled in the so-called “skinny budget” outline released back in mid-March.

That outline called for eliminating the $2.1 billion (Title II) grant program for teacher and principal recruitment and development and a $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program that supports after-school and summer programs.

Emerging reports indicate the following specific cuts will also be proposed to federal K-12 education programs: Continue reading Details of Trump Education Budget Emerge, Public Schools to Face Cuts as School Choice Initiatives Expand