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Senate Passes Spending Bill to Increase Funding for Several Education Programs

Shutdown-Mitch-McConnell-600.jpgThe Senate has approved a spending package that contains funding increases for prominent education programs focusing on disadvantaged students and special education, among several others.

Senators voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday in favor of the legislation, which was crafted and approved by House and Senate appropriations leaders last week. The bill for fiscal 2019 includes a $581 million increase in total U.S. Department of Education spending over current levels for fiscal 2018. (That figure does not include a provision that rescinds $600 million from reserves for Pell Grants for college students from low-income backgrounds.) Title I and career and technical education grants would get relatively small increases, as would aid to charter schools and a block grant districts can use to help create safe schools.

You can read a program-by-program breakdown of the bill here. The Senate vote on the spending package was 93-7.

The legislation does not include funding for new school choice initiatives proposed by President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for fiscal 2019. Lawmakers also declined to cut the Education Department's overall budget, as the Trump administration wished. The bill also includes funding for the Defense, Health and Human Services, and Labor Departments. 

The House still needs to pass the legislation and Trump must still sign it before the bill becomes law. Congress is facing a Sept. 30 deadline to pass bills funding the government, otherwise a shutdown will start on Oct. 1. 

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