July 28, 2023
Senate appropriators, in drafting the budget for the Education Department and other agencies, say they made the most of a difficult situation to reach a compromise on a bill that can pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law.
That compromise would give the Education Department about $370 million more in discretionary funds than it received for the current fiscal year, according to a sparse bill summary released ahead of Thursday’s appropriations committee markup. The Senate plan also would increase the maximum Pell Grant award from $7,395 to $7,645 for the 2024–25 academic year.
“We looked hard at every program and worked together to address the highest priority funding needs,” said Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin, the top Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee tasked to write the bill for the Education Department and other agencies.
House Republicans are planning deep cuts to the department and other agencies. The draft budget for the Education Department released earlier this month cut billions from the agency—defunding Federal Work-Study and other programs. Higher education associations said they were concerned about those cuts and how they would impact students.
Federal spending on domestic programs will be flat for the upcoming fiscal year as part of a budget deal reached earlier this summer to avert a default on the country’s debt. House Republicans have since planned to make deeper cuts than those called for in the deal, setting up a clash between the two chambers over the budget.