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As Regional Ed Labs Go, So Goes the U.S. Economy?

Who would have thought that this spring's budget woes for the regional educational laboratories would eventually link up with the nation's debt ceiling debate? As my colleague Michele McNeil over at Politics K12 reports, the final 11th-hour Congressional deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit is being pushed through using S.B. 365 as a legislative vehicle.

Some folks might remember that the Senate passed that bill back in February as a temporary technical fix to extend the current education labs' contracts after Congress cut their funding in the continuing budget resolution in December. The regional labs' budget was reinstated in April and the Institute of Education Sciences has since conducted a new round of lab contract applications, but S. 365 never got out of the House Education and Workforce committee.

That apparently made it perfect for housing the debt ceiling agreement: Because of procedural timeline requirements for offering a new bill, Congress needed to find an existing live bill in order to pass it before the debt-ceiling-increase deadline tomorrow.

Jim Kohlmoos, of the Knowledge Alliance, which urged passage of the original technical bill, said it's an ironic choice for the debt ceiling bill—it remains to be seen how education research will fare in the funding fallout from the debt-limit deal.

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