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$21.2-Billion Education Department Bill Advances

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Washington--The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved the $21.2-billion fiscal 1988 Education Department budget that recently emerged from subcommittee. (See Education Week, Sept. 30, 1987.)

But, having failed to complete appropriations measures before the start of fiscal 1988 last week, both the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution that will fund government operations--including education programs--at current levels through Nov. 10.

At the appropriations session, Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Republican of Connecticut, again championed an increased allocation for the National Institutes of Health, which was originally to come at the expense of education programs.

Senator Weicker was persuaded to withdraw the proposal when the bill was considered by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education subcommittee, but he prevailed last week by a 12-11 vote after reducing his request to $82- million and moving most of the cuts to non-education-related parts of the budget.

The Education Department will, however, lose a portion of the approximately $22 million taken from the travel budgets of the three departments under the subcommittee's jurisdiction.

Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, withdrew an amendment to increase the Senate's impact-aid allocation by $29 million at the expense of the Employment Training Administration.

"I've found I don't have my math quite right," said Senator Reid, vowing to "wait and fight this battle later."

The impact-aid program--which compensates school districts with federal property or workers--would be cut from $717.5 million to $701.5-million under the Senate bill, while the House allotted $757.5 million.

The committee adopted by consensus an amendment offered by Senator Mark O. Hatfield, Republican of Oregon, that shifted $1 million from the Education Department's research budget to the United States Institute of Peace, an agency that conducts research in areas such as arms control and conflict resolution.

The appropriations bill next moves to the Senate floor.

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