News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Spending Bills Await the Next Congress
Congress was expected late last week to adjourn for the year without finishing the spending bill that finances the Department of Education.
Two versions of the bill, which is to provide funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal 2007, which began Oct. 1, have been approved by the appropriations committees in both the House and Senate. But neither bill has reached the floor of their respective chambers.
Instead, lawmakers planned to extend funding for the programs until Feb. 15, financing most of them at fiscal 2006 levels. Congress approved similar extensions earlier this year.
The new Democratic-controlled Congress will have to finish the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill and nine others when it begins its work in January.
Both chambers’ pending bills would provide less money for the Education Department than last fiscal year’s $57.85 billion. The House bill would fund the department at $56.15 billion, or a 2.9 percent decrease, while the Senate’s bill would provide $55.79 billion, or a 3.6 percent decrease.
Edward R. Kealy, the executive director of the Committee for Education Funding, noted that the delayed spending bill is intended to finance the 2007-08 school year, so school districts won’t be immediately affected by Congress’ inaction.
Vol. 26, Issue 15, Page 20