Just days after finalizing the fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget process, both the House and Senate passed budget resolutions outlining priorities for the FY 2014 budget. Budget resolutions are not prescriptive in nature, rather they are non-binding narrative documents that serve as each chambers’ agreed upon budgetary roadmap for the upcoming fiscal year. The House and Senate FY 2014 budget resolutions differ greatly from one another, particularly in their priorities for student aid.
The House, under the leadership of Chairman of the Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-WI), passed a budget resolution that would balance the federal budget in 10 years and impose an additional $1 trillion in cuts on top of already-scheduled sequester cuts. While the resolution does not provide specific funding levels, it includes the following assumptions for student aid:
The Senate-passed budget resolution was completed under the leadership of Chairwoman of the Budget Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) and would replace current sequester cuts with a 10-year deficit reduction plan made up of spending cuts and revenue increases. The Senate resolution outlines the following for student aid:
The House and Senate will now come together to try to find compromise on the resolutions before moving to the appropriations, or funding, part of the budget process, though it is unlikely that they will come to an agreement. It is important to remember that the resolutions are non-binding and essentially act as a philosophical marker to guide appropriations committees. In fact, in the past several years the Senate has not even passed a budget resolution. This year, however, lawmakers were under pressure to pass resolutions due to a law passed in February that would have suspended their pay if they did not complete resolutions by April 15.
Another key player in the budget process is President Barack Obama. The president usually releases a budget request in early February, but the president has not yet released the FY 2014 request. Typically, the president’s request comes before the House and Senate work on their Budget resolutions, making this year unusual. The president is expected to release his FY 2014 budget in early April.
NASFAA joined other higher education groups this past week in expressing support for the provisions of the Senate budget resolution that provide stable funding for the student aid programs, and expressed opposition to provisions in the House budget that would make severe cuts to the Pell Grant program.
Publication date: 03/26/13
Publication Date: 3/26/2013