ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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While the Trump Administration’s budget request for next year has been the focus of much attention on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, the more immediate concern for lawmakers is figuring out a way to avert a government shutdown when the current-year funding measure expires on April 28. The federal government has been operating on stopgap funding bills since the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 began in October. These short-term continuing resolutions (CR) are intended to put the federal budget on autopilot by continuing existing funding levels for federal programs, including Perkins, until a long-term agreement can be reached. The initial CR was passed by Congress last fall and was only supposed to be in effect until December 9. But when it came time to replace that CR with a full-year appropriations bill, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, at the urging of the incoming Trump Administration, opted to pass a second CR that punted important funding decisions into April.
When lawmakers return to the Capitol Hill next week, they will have just four legislative days to act before the current CR runs out and the federal government is forced to close its doors. Given the limited timeframe, Congress will likely have to roll up all of the 12 unfinished appropriations bills—Perkins funding is part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill—into an omnibus funding measure that can be passed all at once. They may also use a combination of new appropriations for some government functions and CRs for other funding areas where no consensus on funding levels can be reached. To buy extra time to finalize a deal, they may also opt for another short-term CR that would last only a few days or weeks. If negotiations come to an impasse and no bill is able to pass by next Friday, most of the federal government, in a repeat of the shutdown of 2013 that lasted 16 days, will close indefinitely. While a shutdown seems unlikely, it’s an important time to let your Members of Congress know how this ongoing budget dysfunction has negatively impacted CTE programs in your community. Tell your legislators that they need act now to pass a full-year funding bill that supports education and job training.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 04/17/2017 at 04:23 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
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