Early Saturday morning (Dec. 2) the U.S. Senate voted 51 to 49 along partisan lines to pass its version of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). The plan, as passed, could add one trillion dollars to the federal debt over the next decade, which many education leaders fear could trigger calls for a significant reduction in spending for federal programs, including those that support K-12 education. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives, passed its own version of the tax reform legislation. Continue reading U.S. Senate Passes Tax Code Reform Legislation
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.
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.
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:
Last week Congress avoided a possible shutdown of the federal government when it approved and sent to President Trump a consolidated appropriations bill (H.R. 244) to fund public education and other federal programs throughout the remainder of federal Fiscal Year 2017, which runs through Sept. 30. The so-called “omnibus” bill (H.R. 244) was passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 309-118 and by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 79-18. It was signed into law by President Trump on May 5.
Overall, in the education area, the FY 2017 omnibus bill, makes net cuts of about $1.1 billion, but provides a more than a $1 billion increase compared with comparable 2016 funding levels for Title I grants for disadvantaged students, special education, Impact Aid, and student support programs under Title IV (ESSA). The text of the bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education is available here. Continue reading President Signs Spending Bill to Fund Federal Government Thru Sept. 30
On Thursday (March 9), the U.S. Senate by a vote of 50-49 approved a resolution (H.J.Res. 57) to invoke its authority under the federal Regulatory Control Act to repeal the Accountability and State Plan regulations promulgated last November by the Obama Administration under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). (The Regulatory Control Act allows congressional disapproval of previously promulgated federal regulations under certain conditions.)
Earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives had approved the measure 234 – 190 on Tuesday (March 7). The measure heads to the White House, where President Trump is expected to approve it, effectively repealing the regulations issued under the former Administration.
On Tuesday, Jan. 17 the U.S. Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will begin proceedings to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the position of Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
Ms. DeVos is known for her involvement in several education reform organizations that support or promote privatization efforts, including private school vouchers. Those organizations include the American Federation for Children (AFC), the Education Freedom Fund, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, to name a few. Continue reading Confirmation Hearing Set for U.S. Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos for Jan. 17