March 15, 2016
Dear Budget Committee Member:
The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of 116 national education associations and institutions spanning early learning to postgraduate education, writes to express our strong opposition to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolution proposed by Chairman Price.
While the proposed Budget maintains the FY 2017 cap for nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending, it proposes to slash funding for education and other critical NDD programs by $877 billion, or 18.6 percent, between FY 2018 and FY 2026.
In FY 2018 alone, it cuts NDD programs by $44 billion (-8.5 percent) below the sequester cap. Compared to the current Fiscal Year, it cuts NDD by $55 billion (-10.4 percent), when the $8 billion provided for NDD through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund is factored in.
The materials released on the Chairman’s proposed budget do not provide any details on funding for discretionary-funded education programs. However, if the 10.4 percent cut to NDD below current levels was applied equally to all programs, funding for critical Department of Education programs would be cut by $7.1 billion with Head Start in the Department of Health and Human Services cut by $953 million. Such cuts would devastate programs serving students from preschool to postgraduate education, as well as in related areas of workforce training, libraries and museums. In addition, the budget proposes to freeze the maximum Pell grant award for at least the next ten years.
Making matters worse, the Budget includes $202 billion in mandatory cuts over ten years in Function 500 (Education, Employment, Training, and Social Services). While the materials do not specify what those cuts are, we are deeply concerned they likely will result in additional reductions to mandatory-funded student financial aid programs.
At a time when increased educational attainment is strongly tied to earnings, such cuts would be harmful not only to students and their families, schools, colleges, and States, but also to our nation’s economy.
We again strongly urge you to reject this Budget, which reverses recent bipartisan progress in restoring past budget cuts, and would move our nation backwards in efforts to improve school readiness, close achievement gaps, fulfill modern workforce needs, and increase high school graduation, college attendance, and college completion.