House Budget Committee Releases FY 2017 Budget Plan, Would Freeze Pell Grant Maximum for Next Decade

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff, and Stephen Payne, Policy & Federal Relations Staff

House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA) on Tuesday released the committee's fiscal year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolution, calling for $6.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade in order to balance the budget by FY 2026. The budget resolution, essentially a fiscal roadmap for the chamber's funding priorities, comes on the heels of the release of President Obama's final budget proposal last month. The FY 2017 budget and appropriations process will impact award year 2017-2018.

Though the resolution is light on specifics, it would reduce non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending by $877 billion over the next 10 years, an 18.6 percent reduction. Non-defense discretionary programs include the entire federal student aid portfolio, except for the minor mandatory-based Pell Grant increase tied to inflation. Though the resolution would keep the FY 2017 budget caps agreed to last fall, the plan calls for cutting non-defense discretionary spending by $44 billion in FY 2018 and freezing spending for the next nine years.

On education funding, the resolution report calls for the federal government "to stop shoveling more money at the problem of rising tuition in higher education" and "begin accounting for the market risk involved in lending."

"This resolution envisions a sustainable higher education system in which no student has to choose between crippling student loan debt and reaching their highest potential," the report notes.

While the resolution does not go into much of any specificity on addressing some of these issues in higher education, the House plan does propose freezing the maximum Pell Grant award at the FY 2016 level ($5,815) for the next decade.

A faction of the House Republicans caucus known as the "Freedom Caucus" has already vowed to oppose the resolution because the plan does not make enough cuts in spending, according to a POLITICO report. Because of this defection, the resolution is unlikely to reach the 218-vote threshold to pass on the House floor.

Last week, Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) announced his plan to postpone — or potentially even forgo — introduction of a budget resolution this year in the Senate, adding to the increasing climate of gridlock overtaking Capitol Hill in 2016.

The House Budget Committee will markup the resolution today at 10:00 am ET. As always, stay tuned to Today's News for updates on the budget process, and be sure check out our Federal Budget & Appropriations resource page for more information and news archive.


Publication Date: 3/16/2016

Denise D | 3/16/2016 4:28:51 PM

Then we should freeze members of Congress' income (from all sources) for ten years, too!

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