US House of Representatives Proposes Increase for Fiscal Year 2021 CTE Funding
On July 6, the US House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill. According to the Committee's press release, the bill includes "$196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President's 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments." Policymakers were limited to the approximately 1.22 percent increase due to statutory budget caps that had been agreed to by both chambers last year.
However, even with this very modest overall increase, there was some good news for CTE in the bill. While the funding level proposed for Perkins does not match the amount suggested by the Administration earlier this year, the bill proposes an $18 million, or 1.4 percent increase for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing its total funding level to approximately $1.3 billion.
Under the US Department of Labor, the bill also includes small increases for WIOA state grant programs, registered apprenticeships and Strengthening Community College Training Grants, among other programs, with a total budget of $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (a $187 million increase) and $12.7 billion overall (a $254 million increase).
This is the first official congressional step toward funding these programs for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2020. The process has been significantly delayed due to attention on the pandemic response; however, it is now expected to move forward relatively quickly in the House. House leaders have expressed interest in passing all 12 appropriations bills, including this one, on the House floor before the August recess. The process remains stalled in the Senate however, so it is likely one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to extend funding at the end of the fiscal year.
While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn't come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, particularly as a result of the pandemic, it is a solid first step in this process considering restrictive budget caps.