House committee passes funding bill

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved along party lines its proposed funding bill for education, job training and other programs.

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed a spending bill for fiscal year 2020 that would increase funding for many programs of interest to community colleges as well as the maximum grant amount of a Pell Grant. The bill also includes a new $150 million career training program geared toward community colleges.

The funding levels in the bill — which covers education, labor and health and human services programs — are essentially the same as those reported out of a House appropriations subcommittee last week. It now will go to the full House for a vote. On the Senate side, appropriators may mark up their spending bill in early June.

Republicans on the appropriations committee noted during the markup that they appreciated the inclusion of several provisions they sought but they still voted against the bill. The overall increases in the bill would surpass spending limits, and it would not likely be passed by the Senate nor signed by President Trump, they said. That would extend the appropriations process and could push toward another government shutdown if a bill is not passed by the start of the new fiscal year, Republicans warned.

Although lawmakers touted the proposed $150 increase (to $6,345) for the maximum Pell Grant amount as well as increases to higher education programs such as GEAR UP and TRIO, much of the discussion on the broad-ranging spending bill focused on amendments related to social issues, such as abortion, family planning and health care coverage.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.