This week, Congress will begin tackling a long to-do list of policy items as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill from their month-long recess. Passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding bill is among the most pressing issues on the congressional agenda in the coming weeks. The current funding bill will expire on September 30, which means that policymakers must pass a new appropriations measure before the end of the month to ensure continued funding for education and job training programs.
As we reported in July, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2018 funding bill. The bill proposes level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant at $1.118 billion. Despite calls by the Trump Administration to cut the state grant program by 15 percent, the subcommittee chose to maintain funding for CTE. That bill will advance to the House floor this week, where the full body will debate and amend the legislation before voting on its passage.
The Senate is slightly behind the House in progressing its FY 2018 appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to begin consideration of its education and job training funding proposal on Wednesday, with a final committee vote coming by the end of the week. It’s not clear how the two chambers will reconcile their respective funding bills. The limited window for congressional action on funding will be further complicated by other timely policy matters, including emergency disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey, tax reform, infrastructure spending, immigration and raising the nation’s debt limit. If recent history is any indicator, lawmakers may choose to put off a final decision by passing a short-term continuing resolution. Check back to the CTE Policy Watch Blog for continued updates on Perkins funding!