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Administration Review Cites Benefits of Affirmative Action

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It was vetoed and then nearly filibustered to death. But President Clinton last week signed a compromise bill that cuts $16.3 billion from the current federal budget, including $574 million from education programs.

The end of five months of partisan wrangling over the rescissions bill allowed the Education Department to finally inform states how it will affect their funding for the coming school year.

"This week we're saying, ~'Hey, the waiting game is over. This is what you're going to get,'" said Thomas M. Corwin, the director of the elementary, secondary, and vocational analysis division of the department's budget office.

President Clinton cited proposed cuts in education, training, and environmental programs when he vetoed an earlier version of the bill last month.

A compromise bill was passed by the House June 29, but held up by Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., and Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn. (See Education Week, 7/12/95.)

After Senate leaders allowed them to offer amendments, the bill passed July 21 on a 90-to-7 vote.

Before its final vote, the Senate rejected the liberal senators' proposals to restore $319 million for a program that helps poor people pay utility bills and to restore $332 million in education and job-training cuts. The amendments were tabled by votes of 57 to 40 and 65 to 32, respectively.

Six Programs Killed

"I am pleased that bipartisan leaders of Congress worked with me to produce a good bill," Mr. Clinton said in announcing that he would sign the legislation, which includes $7.2 billion in disaster relief. The remaining $9.1 billion in cuts will be applied to the federal deficit.

The bill is a mixed blessing for educators.

On one hand, the original Republican proposal sought an additional $300 million in education cuts. And debate over the cuts has clouded budget forecasts and held up money that otherwise was scheduled to be released July 1.

"Now it's working the other way. We've been able to release more funds because the President's compromise added dollars," said Undersecretary of Education Marshall S. Smith.

Still, the compromise will reduce the size of the fiscal 1995 pie.

It cuts $31.5 million from the Goals 2000: Educate America Act--$10 million from the $372 million appropriation for state grants and all $21.5 million allocated for national programs, such as evaluations.

A $69 million cut in Eisenhower Professional Development Grants eliminated virtually all funding for teacher training in areas other than mathematics and science. The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program loses $15.9 million from its appropriation of $482 million.

All fiscal 1995 funding was eliminated for other programs: training in early-childhood education and violence, $13.9 million; Family and Community Endeavor Schools, $11.1 million; vocational- and adult-education programs for community-based organizations, $9.5 million; education infrastructure, $35 million; consumer and homemaking education, $34.4 million; and vocational-education demonstrations, $20.7 million.

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