NASFAA Urges Lawmakers to Oppose Spending Bill that Would Cut Pell

NASFAA sent a letter to lawmakers yesterday urging them to oppose H.R. 1, a stop-gap spending bill that would provide funding for federal programs for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 and would cut the 2011-12 maximum Pell Grant by more than 15 percent. NASFAA also joined a host of other higher education associations to support an amendment to be introduced by Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) that would restore funding for Pell to maintain the current maximum award for 2011-12. However, this amendment may not make it to the House floor because it does not include cuts to offset the cost, a rule required for each amendment.

Representatives have filed 583 amendments to H.R. 1, with many calling for additional cuts. House leaders had planned to wrap up debate on the bill and hold a final vote by 3 p.m. on Thursday, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that debate could stretch past Thursday. Congress is scheduled to be in recess next week for the President’s Day holiday. The House will likely pass H.R. 1, but it is almost certain to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate where there is little chance it will pass.  Many expect Congress to pass another temporary continuing resolution (CR) before the current CR’s March 4 expiration. This will provide additional time for debate.  The other option is a government shutdown, which has not occurred since 1995.

The CR being considered in the House would cut the discretionary-funded maximum award from $4,860 to $4,015. With the $690 provided through mandatory funds, the 2011-12 maximum Pell Grant award would be $4,705 -- a 15 percent decrease from 2010-11.   H.R. 1 also provides zero funding for FSEOG and LEAP.

NASFAA continues to advocate lawmakers to oppose this bill and we encourage you to act now to oppose the bill.