A Look at the House’s Labor-HHS-Education Bill for FY 2018

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved their Labor-HHS-Education spending bill for FY 2018, which now advances to the House of Representatives floor for further discussion at a to be determined date.

If this spending agreement were to pass, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) would receive $66 billion in funding, which is a $2.4 billion cut from the previous fiscal year.  Below are some of the funding levels proposed for education programs involving music education:

 Federal Education Programs

FY17 Omnibus Appropriations

House FY18 Proposed

 Title I, Part A

$15.460 billion

$15.460 billion

 Title II, Part A

$2.056 billion


 Title IV, Part A

$400 million

$500 million

 Arts in Education

$27 million


 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

$12.830 billion

$13.030 billion

 21st Century Community Learning Centers

$1.192 billion

$1.0 billion

Title I, Part A

The House’s L-HHS-Ed bill did not acknowledge President Trump’s request to dedicate $1.0 billion of Title I, Part A funds towards portability, where the dollars would follow a low income student to a public school of his or her choice. In NAfME’s FY18 appropriations requests, we advocate against the president’s proposal, as it would weaken the targeting of Title I funds.

Photo: iStockphoto.com / uschools

Title IV, Part A and Title II, Part A

Included in the House’s proposal is a $500 million allocation for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program, found in Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

For those unfamiliar, SSAE is one of the new opportunities created within ESSA that may used to provide states and school districts supplemental funding to 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,

While the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is appreciative of House Appropriators supporting increased funding for Title IV-A over the previous fiscal year allocation, this remains far below the grant’s authorization level of $1.6 billion and cannot operate effectively as a formula block grant, as intended by ESSA.

Additionally, the House’s proposal suggests the elimination of funding for Title II, Part A, over which NAfME expresses deep concern, as these funds are used in part to support the professional development of educators teaching well-rounded subjects, such as music. 

NAfME has released a position statement regarding the underfunding of Title IV, Part A and the proposed elimination of Title II, Part A.  See here for our full statement.

The Endowments

In a separate appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of Interior and Environment,  the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), would receive $145 million in funding under the House’s proposal for FY 2018.  This is a minor $5 million cut from the previous fiscal year. 

The Senate

On the other side of Congress, the Senate is moving significantly slower in the budgetary process after being backlogged by the healthcare repeal and Executive Office nominations.  On Thursday, July 20, the Senate approved its 302(b) allocations for FY 2018, which set the topline spending for each of the spending bills they are about to introduce. 

The Senate’s 302(b) allocation for Labor-HHS-Education is a $3 billion increase from the FY 2017 level, and a $8 billion increase from the House’s proposition.  This sparks the possibility for more education funding in the Senate’s proposal.  In the meantime, NAfME continues to assert its appropriations agenda in both houses of Congress and remains on the forefront of SSAE advocacy efforts by serving as a Steering Committee member of the Title IV-A Coalition.

Ronny Lau, Public Policy Advisor, July 26, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)