House Backs Stimulus Bill That Includes Education Cuts
WASHINGTON--The House last week approved a supplemental-spending bill for fiscal 1993 that includes $320 million for summer jobs for youths and nearly $136 million in cuts to education programs.
HR 2244, with a total cost of $841.5 million, is intended to serve as a short-term economic-stimulus package. President Clinton presented the measure to Congress after a filibuster by Senate Republicans killed his original, $16.3 billion stimulus bill. (See Education Week, April 28, 1993.)
The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to consider the measure when it returns from its Memorial Day break next week.
Mr. Clinton had proposed to offset the spending with an across-the-board cut of .45 percent in all domestic discretionary programs.
But the House Appropriations Committee, which approved the bill last week before it went to the floor, substituted specific cuts in fiscal 1993 programs.
The offsets would slice $135.7 million from Education Department programs. The targeted programs are all small programs that President Clinton proposed be eliminated in fiscal 1994.
The House, which did not adopt any amendments, voted 287 to 140 to approve HR 2244.
A procedural objection prevented consideration of an amendment by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., that would have added $680 million for summer youth jobs and $760 million for the Job Training Partnership Act.
The additional jobs money contained in HR 2244 would bring the total fiscal 1993 allocation for summer youth employment to $1 billion. The President's original request called for an infusion of $1 billion for summer youth jobs, as well as added funds for several education programs.
Among them was the Pell Grant program, which is carrying a $2 billion shortfall. Another supplemental bill, HR 2118, includes $160 million to defray the deficit. The House approved that bill 300 to 125 last week.
The President had requested that 30 percent of the new-jobs funding be used to provide participants with academic services during the summer.
But the House Appropriations Committee removed that provision because the committee's leadership felt it was more important to spend the available money on actual jobs.
"When it dropped down to $320 million,'' an aide to Rep. William H. Natcher, D-Ky., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said, "we thought that maintaining the maximum number of jobs'' was most important.
In addition, the aide said, because the money will not be distributed until mid-June at the earliest, localities might not have time to establish productive education programs.
"We thought in many ways it was too late,'' he said.
The committee also rejected an Administration request to raise the maximum age of participation in those programs from 21 to 29.
Education Department Cuts
The offsets in the supplemental measure would cut:
- $1.8 million from an impact-aid program for districts losing students as a result of military-base closures;
- $72.5 million in State Student Incentive Scholarships;
- $14.7 million from library programs;
- $13.7 million from cooperative-education programs;
- $10.9 million in foreign-language assistance;
- $4.3 million from the Student Literacy Corps;
- $4.2 million in Ellender fellowships;
- $3.5 million from the Dwight Eisenhower Leadership Program;
- $3.2 million from the National Writing Project;
- $2.9 million from bilingual vocational training;
- $2.2 million from the National Academy of Space Scholars; and
- $1.7 million from territorial teacher training.
Education lobbyists said the move represents a reallocation of scarce resources from certain needy groups to other needy groups.
"While C.E.F. supports the goal of this package to create much-needed jobs,'' Richard A. Kruse, the president of the Committee for Education Funding, said in a statement, "we simply cannot afford to do so at the expense of our students.''