A proposed amendment to the congressional budget resolution for fiscal 2006 that would have added $4.8 billion for Department of Education discretionary funding failed last week in the Senate on a vote of 49-44.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., introduced the amendment to the $2.6 trillion budget resolution, which serves as a blueprint for federal appropriations bills. The amendment proposed keeping the Education Department’s discretionary budget at its current level of $56.6 billion. President Bush’s proposed 2006 budget would cut education funding by 1 percent.
“Simply put, the budget proposal before us does not provide sufficient funding to sustain current funding levels in many education programs,” Sen. Bingaman said on the Senate floor on March 14. He railed against the scrapping of some smaller programs, such as GEAR UP and Trio, which help students from disadvantaged families pursue higher education. “Obviously, the president is entitled to believe that these programs I just listed do not work, although the evidence, in my view, proves otherwise,” he said.
The proposed amendment would have paid for itself by closing corporate-tax loopholes. Sen. Bingaman said that under the current federal budget, he believes the federal No Child Left Behind Act is underfunded by $39 billion.