House Votes For Continued Funding At Present Level Through Sept. 30
Washington--The House of Representatives voted last week to extend the fiscal 1982 continuing resolution, which expires today, to Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The bill, HJ Res 409, would maintain funding for most Cabinet-level agencies--including the Education Department--at the levels set by the Congress last December. The measure, which was scheduled to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote early this week, would fund education programs during the 1982-83 school year at approximately $13 billion.
The extension of the continuing resolution is necessary to avoid a temporary shutdown of government agencies, such as the one that occurred in December after President Reagan refused to sign the funding bill passed by the Congress.
Congressional aides said last week that they were unsure whether the President would be willing to sign HJ Res 409 because, as passed by the House, it does not contain the additional budget cuts sought by the Administration for the fiscal year 1982.
Several House staff members said that although Congressmen rejected the President's proposed budget cuts, members of the Republican-controlled Senate were expected to introduce amendments that would include budget reductions.
The President also has asked the Congress to increase 1982 funding for certain entitlement programs, including financial assistance for college students.
The House leadership has decided to deal with the proposed additional funds in a separate measure known as a supplemental appropriations bill.
The House Appropriations Committee voted last week to include $1.3 billion in "emergency" funds for the Guaranteed Student Loan program in the supplemental funding bill. That amount represents an increase of more than $300 million over the supplemental funding sought by the Reagan Administration. The bill was scheduled to be brought to the House floor for a vote sometime this week.
The Congress is also moving slowly toward action on the President's fiscal 1983 budget request. For education programs, the Administration is seeking cuts from $14.8 billion in the current school year to $9.95 billion in the 1983-84 school year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a vote taken on March 18, rejected the President's proposed budget cuts. In a report to the Senate Budget Committee, the Appropriations Committee recommended that support for education programs remain at approximately $13 billion, the fiscal 1982 level.
In a related matter, legislators seeking to maintain the current level of federal support for education programs received the approval last week of the Southern Governors' Association, a consortium of governors from 18 states.
In testimony before the House Education and Labor Committee, Gov. Richard W. Riley, Democrat of South Carolina, said the association is "committed to an adequate level of funding for Title I." He was referring to the $3.1-billion program, established under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, to aid disadvantaged children.
If the President's proposed budget reductions for the Title I program were to be adopted, Governor Riley said, "a half-million children [in the 18 Southern states] could be dropped from Title I-funded programs next year, and that number could grow to a total of 1.4 million by the 1983-84 school year."
"There are more than 10 million children in poverty in the South," Governor Riley continued. "These children require and deserve more attention than can be provided by state initiatives alone. This is why Title I is so important."