$100-Million Cut in Bilingual Programs Eyed by Senators
Washington--Republican Senators are considering a $100-million cut in the $173-million federal bilingual-education program.
The proposal was one of a number of budget-cutting options prepared by the staff of the Senate Budget Committee, Congressional sources said last week.
The sources emphasized that the $100-million reduction in the program's budget for fiscal 1986 is part of a "laundry list" of possible cuts compiled by the committee's staff. They said Senate leaders have not made any decisions regarding specific cuts.
The reduction would be in addition to a freeze in federal spending--except for means-tested entitlement programs, such as the school-lunch program. It would be part of the Republican senators' attempt to cut the federal budget deficit to $168 billion from a projected $225 billion in fiscal 1986, and to $98 billion by fiscal 1988, the sources said.
James J. Lyons, legislative counsel for the National Association for Bilingual Education, said he was "flabbergasted" that a deep cut in the bilingual-education program was under discussion, particularly since it was recently reauthorized. "The new law," he said, "made this a model program on how to provide a quality education" for language-minority students.
Mr. Lyons and some Congressional aides said they considered it unlikely that the Congress would approve such a cut. But Ronald P. Preston, a Republican staff member on the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, said the cut would have to be considered as part of an overall deficit-reduction package.
Budget Cuts Outlined
The Senate Majority Leader, Robert J. Dole, Republican of Kansas, and other members of the Republican leadership are drafting their own budget, which would cut the deficit more than the plan that the Reagan Administration will submit to the Congress Feb. 4.
According to a Republican Senate aide, the Senators, who hope to complete their effort by Feb. 1, intend to freeze practically all government spending, which would provide a savings of only $31 billion. They would still have to make other cuts amounting to $20 billion to achieve their deficit target.
The cut in bilingual-education funds was one of the options for trimming the additional $20 billion, a Republican Senate aide said. The proposal was contained in a five-page memorandum outlining the budget-cutting goals of the gop leadership and the steps necessary to achieve them, the aide said.
House Concurrence Doubted
At the same time, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, Representative William H. Gray 3rd, Democrat of Pennsylvania, indicated last week that the House may balk at the prospect of cutting more than $50 billion from the budget.