The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday forwarded its fiscal year 2024 spending plan to the full appropriations committee.
The bill contains an overall request of $67.4 billion to the Department of Education (ED), a reduction of $12.1 billion from the fiscal year 2023 enacted level and $22.6 billion less than the president’s budget request.
As unveiled, the House measure — which faces long odds at enactment in its current form due to its funding gap with the White House and the makeup of the Democrat-controlled Senate — would keep the maximum Pell Grant at $7,395 for 2024-25, after accounting for mandatory add-ons and discretionary spending.
The bill would also eliminate two campus-based aid programs — the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program and Federal Work-Study (FWS) — as well as ED’s office of communications. The GOP proposal also decreases funding for student aid administration to $1.8 billion, representing a 13% cut.
During Thursday's subcommittee markup, lawmakers formally began the process of moving the legislation through the chamber, which seeks to meet a September 30 deadline.
The panel advanced the Labor-H bill to the full committee by voice vote, but subcommittee Democrats dismissed the measure.
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chair of the subcommittee said that the bill was far from perfect, but instead served as a “first step” to rein in fiscal spending in an effort to combat inflation.
On the other hand, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), ranking member of the full committee, called the bill shameful.
“Regardless of age or stage in life, this bill means you cannot count on government for any help,” DeLauro said. “These awful cuts will make it very hard for people and should not even be considered by this committee.”
The full committee is expected to review the bill as soon as July 27.
As a reminder, the recently enacted debt ceiling law created a process for spending levels and requires Congress to complete the appropriations process before Jan. 1, 2024, otherwise the federal government would be subject to an automatic continuing resolution that would prevent a government shutdown by implementing a 1% funding cut from the previous fiscal year. This provision would only be in effect for fiscal year 2024 and 2025 spending bills.
Publication Date: 7/17/2023