FY 2015 Senate Appropriations Markup and NEA’s New Chair

On Tuesday this week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education completed its markup of the President’s FY 2015 proposed education budget.

The markup included a $348 million increase over FY 2014 for pre-K initiatives, which has been a priority for subcommittee (and full committee) chairman Tom Harkin (IA).

The Subcommittee appeared to reject a proposal in the FY 2015 President’s budget request that essentially transferred $25 million for Arts in Education to a proposed new program promoting “well-rounded education.” The markup restored the Arts in Education budget line to $25 million and included no funding for the proposed program.

Other notable items in the markup include:

  • A $100 increase to maximum individual Pell grant awards for a new total of $5,830 per student.
  • No funding for STEM innovation programs, a proposed new item in the FY 2015 President’s budget.
  • An increase of $40 million in IDEA state grants for individuals with disabilities.
  • An increase of $145 million in Head Start and an increase of $98 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program. Both of these programs are housed within the Department of Health and Human Services and are increases beyond those for pre-K initiatives mentioned above.

The appropriations bill was scheduled to be taken up by full committee today (June 12,) but the markup has been postponed with no new date yet. 

In other news, Dr. Jane Chu was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Dr. Chu comes to the NEA from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, where she has served as president and CEO since 2006.  The White House is expected to make the official appointment within days of the confirmation; thereafter Dr. Chu will begin her appointment.

Stay tuned for further updates!

— Shannon Kelly, Director of Advocacy