Education Funding

Bush, Congress Still Battling Over Education Budget

By Alyson Klein — November 21, 2007 3 min read

The Department of Education’s budget for fiscal 2008 remains up in the air, after House Democrats narrowly failed to override a presidential veto of a bill that would have raised spending on health, education, and labor programs.

The House fell two votes short, with a vote of 277-141 on Nov. 15, of the two-thirds necessary to override President Bush’s veto of the education spending bill. The measure would have provided $60.7 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Education for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, a 5.6 percent increase over fiscal 2007, and 8.3 percent more than President Bush requested.

The Senate approved its version of the bill, 56-37, earlier this month, but did not consider the veto override because it failed in the House.

In rejecting the measure Nov. 13, President Bush said the bill was “44 days late and nearly $10 billion over budget, and filled with more than 2,000 earmarks,” or projects requested by individual lawmakers. “Congress needs to cut out that pork, reduce the spending, and send me a responsible measure that I can sign into law,” he said.

Congress has already extended spending for most federal programs at fiscal 2007 levels through Dec. 14. If lawmakers and the administration can’t agree on a new appropriations bill, Congress could pass a long-term extension that would support education, health, and labor programs at last year’s levels for the rest of fiscal 2008.

Urging Compromise

To avoid that outcome, some supporters of the vetoed bill urged Mr. Bush to consider meeting Congress halfway on overall federal spending. The bill would have provided about $10 billion more for education, health, and labor programs than the president requested in the budget plan he unveiled in February.

“In times past, people in this body of good faith have overcome differences far greater than we have tonight,” Rep. James T. Walsh of New York, the top Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending, said Nov. 15. “If the proposal is to split the difference, … I would advise the president to take yes for an answer.”

Rep. Walsh was one of 51 Republicans who voted to override the veto. All 226 House Democrats who voted supported an override.

Education lobbyists voiced dismay at the House’s narrow failure on the override attempt.

“We had hoped it would be possible for [more members of] Congress to stick to their guns,” said Mary Kusler, the assistant director for government relations for the American Association of School Administrators, based in Arlington, Va. “I think there’ll be some sort of compromise between the president’s and Congress’ plans.”

But she predicted that lawmakers and the administration would not necessarily split the difference between Congress’ levels and the administration’s request for every Education Department program. Instead, a compromise bill might be closer to Congress’ level on some items, and closer to the president’s proposal on others, she said.

Mr. Bush had requested $13.9 billion for Title I grants to school districts, while the bill contained $14.3 billion. The program received $12.8 billion in fiscal 2007.

The president asked for $10.5 billion for grants to states for special education, about a 2.7 percent cut from 2007 levels. Congress’ 2008 spending bill called for $11.3 billion, a 4.6 percent increase.

Congress and the administration are even farther apart on other education programs, such as grants to districts under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program. The program received $346.5 million in fiscal 2007; Mr. Bush requested just $100 million for the grants for this year. Congress appropriated $300 million under the rejected spending bill.

A version of this article appeared in the November 28, 2007 edition of Education Week as Bush, Congress Still Battling Over Education Budget

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Biden Pitches 41 Percent Spending Increase for Education Next Year on Top of COVID-19 Aid
The president wants nearly $103 billion for the Department of Education, although history indicates Congress won't approve that request.
4 min read
Conceptual image of money, a mask, and the American flag.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: HAKINMHAN/iStock/Getty and Cimmerian/E+)
Education Funding Biden Infrastructure Plan Calls for $100 Billion for School Construction, Upgrades
President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan would also fund replacement of lead pipes and expand broadband internet access.
4 min read
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Education Funding Miguel Cardona Releases $912 Million for Puerto Rico's Schools, Easing Trump Restrictions
Puerto Rico has regained access to hundreds of millions of dollars for education to address the fallout of COVID-19 and other needs.
2 min read
Students arrive at the Ramon Marin Sola primary school for the first time in nearly a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some public schools reopen in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10, 2021.
Students arrive at the Ramon Marin Sola primary school for the first time in nearly a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some public schools reopen in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10.
Danica Coto/AP
Education Funding School Budgets: Why They're Not As Bad As Predicted
Revenue projections are up, but districts aren't out of the woods. Seven questions answered about the evolving landscape for budgets.
11 min read
Image shows a businessman searching for new revenue in unchartered waters standing on a compass among several waves.
iStock/Getty Images Plus