Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released its draft Fiscal Year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations bill. In total, the bill provides $161.6 billion in discretionary funding, which includes $67 billion for the Department of Education and its related programs. Additionally, the bill allocates a total of $73.2 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes $33.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reflecting Congress’ priorities against the Zika Virus and opioid substance abuse.
Education Provisions of Note – Title IV, Part A
Below is a table comparing the differentiating FY17 funding levels of the House and Senate’s appropriations bills. The Senate’s bill passed Committee earlier this year in June and is awaiting floor review.
|Department of Education – Total||$67 Billion||$67.8 Billion|
|Title I Grants to LEAs (School Districts)||$15.4 Billion||$15.4 Billion|
|Supporting Effective Instruction (Title II, Part A)||$1.95 Billion||$2.05 Billion|
|IDEA Grants to States||$13.4 Billion||$11.95 Billion|
|Title IV, Part A (SSAEG)||$1 Billion||$300 Million|
| Pell Grants Maximum**
|Impact Aid||$1.3 Billion||$1.3 Billion|
|Arts in Education||Cut||$27 Million|
Source: The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) & House & Senate Committees on Appropriations
**Unlike the Senate’s bill, the House bill does not restore year-long Pell for colleges and universities. Additionally, the bill would reduce discretionary spending on Pell by about $1.3 billion. The maximum grant level does rise to $5,935, however, it is through the use of mandatory spending. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40) proposed an amendment at Subcommittee markup to restore year-long Pell, but was not agreed to via show of hands.
Most notable is the significant $700 million difference between the House and Senate’s funding level for Title IV, Part A, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG). Although the level does not match its authorized $1.65 Billion level, this is an enormous win for the music education community as it is a $500 million increase from the President’s recommended budget level. SSAEG is a new block grant created in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which may be used to improve the access of music education, as a part of a “Well-Rounded Education,” by supporting student success and promoting constructive student engagement, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
NAfME Hill Day 2016
Photo: Mark Finkenstaedt | http://www.mfpix.com/
For those who participated in the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) annual Hill Day, this is tremendous news and note that your voice truly resonated among the House of Representatives during your key meetings. For a full recap of NAfME Hill Day 2016, visit here.
What’s Next and How You Can Be Involved?
The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee is set to meet at 9:45 AM on Thursday, July 7. NAfME policy staff will be in attendance to provide further updates on the Committee process of the bill. NAfME also continues to be engaged with the Title IV, Part A Coalition, collectively advocating with numerous education groups to support the SSAEG block grant program. Be sure to revisit this page for an updated copy for the latest on education funding.
- Title IV Coalition Members React to Senate’s Low Funding for SSAEG
- Title IV Coalition Hosts Press Event on the Hill
- NAfME Joins Title IV Coalition
In addition, NAfME is preparing a grassroots advocacy effort for all members and supporters of music education to participate in. As we approach closer and closer to the finish line in the appropriations process, we need YOU, our music advocates, to engage with your members in Congress and urge them to support music education by allocating proper funding for Title IV, Part A (SSAEG). Stay tuned for the latest on how YOU can be involved with this key legislative process!
Ronny Lau, Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, July 6, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)