Late last Friday night the Senate Appropriations Committee released highlights of its version of an economic-stimulus package. For the most part, it’s pretty similar to the bill that passed the House Appropriations Committee this week, on a strictly party-line vote, at least in terms of the education provisions.
The Senate bill would provide about $125 billion for education programs, according to the committee’s summary.
Like the House version, the Senate bill would provide $13 billion spread over fiscal years 2009 and 2010 for Title I grants for disadvantaged students and for students in special education.
And, as in the House version, there would be $39 billion to help schools and colleges avert layoffs and other cuts. There would also be $15 billion for “incentive grants” for states that met certain performance measures. Another $25 billion in state and local aid would be more flexible. It could be used for state and local priorities, like public safety, but could also go to schools and colleges.
There was some pushback on the House stimulus measure from congressional Republicans last week, who are worried that not enough of the money goes into programs that will have a direct and immediate impact on the economy.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and others met with President Barack Obama Friday to discuss the bill. Boehner, who used to be chairman of the education committee and was a key author of the No Child Left Behind Act, is hoping for more of the money to be directed towards tax cuts, which he says will provide a more immediate jolt to the economy. You can check out his statement on the White House meeting here.
Some congressional Republicans, including Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, are also worried that increasing education funding so dramatically might make it difficult to take programs like Title I back down to their current levels, even after the economy improves, according to this Associated Press story.