Congress Reaches Education Funding Agreement for FY 2019

UPDATED (9/28/2018): President Trump has now signed the Labor-HHS-Education and Defense spending package for FY 2019, which not only funds key-education programs, but also successfully averts a government shutdown.

UPDATED (9/27/2018): On September 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Labor-HHS-Education and Defense spending package for FY 2019 in a 361-61 vote.  The bill now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign now.

On Friday, September 14, Congress reached a bicameral conference committee agreement for their Labor-HHS-Education and Defense spending package for FY 2019.  This “minibus,” H.R. 6157, would provide in total $71.4 billion for programs at the U.S. Department of Education (ED).  This is a $581 million increase from FY 2018.

The package also includes a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund the government through December 7th, preventing a government shutdown.  If passed, the CR does not affect education programs, as the bill also sets funding levels for FY 2019 for those associated programs.  The CR is meant as a stop-gap solution for more controversial spending bills, like homeland security, which may not pass by the October 1st fiscal deadline.

Photo: / dmadig

Recap – How did we get here?

Earlier in the Summer, both houses of Congress pursued their L-HHS-Ed appropriations bill in regular order, going through markup and reaching approval by their respective appropriations committees. 

The Senate, in an effort to streamline the process before the October 1st fiscal deadline, packaged together their bill with their Defense spending bill for floor debate.  This marked the first time the Senate has considered a L-HHS-Ed bill on the floor since 2007.  The package passed by an 85-7 vote in late August. 

Upon returning from August recess, the House bypassed floor debate of their L-HHS-Education bill and immediately pursued Conference Committee negotiations with the Senate.  The Conference Committee used the framework of the Senate’s spending package, which helped develop the final spending agreement, H.R. 6157.

Education Provisions of Note

Below is a table consisting of several education programs of note to music education.  The table includes the House and Senate’s original proposed funding levels, with a comparison to the final number and the previous year’s enacted levels.

Federal Education Programs

FY18 Enacted

House Proposed FY19

Senate Proposed FY19

FY19 Conference

Department of Education – Total

$70.86 Billion

$70.91 Billion

$71.4 Billion

$71.4 Billion

Title I Grants to LEAs (School Districts)

$15.46 Billion

$15.76 Billion

$15.89 Billion

$15.86 Billion

Supporting Effective Instruction (Title II, Part A)

$2.06 Billion

$2.06 Billion

$2.06 Billion

$2.06 Billion

Title IV, Part A (SSAE)

$1.1 Billion

$1.2 Billion

$1.225 Billion

$1.17 Billion

Arts in Education

$29 Million

$29 Million

$29 Million

$29 Million

NAfME is pleased to see continued support for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant, otherwise known as the Title IV-A block grant of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Although the final bill did not reach levels proposed by the individual chambers, the grant did receive a $17 million increase.

For those unfamiliar with this block grant, SSAE is one of the new opportunities created within ESSA that provides states and school districts with supplemental funding to support three broad areas:

  1. Providing students access to a well-rounded education (e.g. music and arts),
  2. Supporting safe and healthy students (e.g. comprehensive school mental health, drug and violence prevention, training on trauma-informed practices, health and physical education) and
  3. Supporting the effective use of technology (professional development, blended learning,

NAfME is currently collecting stories of Title IV-A funds being used to support music education. If you have received Title IV-A funding previously or will receive funding for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, please visit to tell us your Title IV story!

Next Steps

On September 18, the conferenced agreement was passed in the Senate by a vote of 93-7.  The House is expected to follow suit and vote during the week of September 24.  Although unlikely, President Trump could veto the bill, as he has expressed dissent towards some of the agreed upon spending allocations.  If vetoed, Congress could then override his veto with a two-thirds vote for the spending bill in both the House and Senate.

NAfME is working closely with the Title IV-A Coalition and other partners to ensure the passage and signage of this legislation.  Stay tuned as we will have many more updates in the coming weeks.

Ronny Lau, Assistant Director of Public Policy, September 18, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (