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Update on FY2001 Labor/HHS Appropriations (7-12-00)

**For most recent update see the AGI website for the 107th Congress**

The fiscal year (FY) 2001 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bills, H.R. 4577 and S. 2553, provide funding to these federal agencies and their related activities.   For the geosciences, activities at the Department of Education (DoEd) related to science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET) education are the most important.  Similar to other appropriation bills, the discretionary spending in the Labor/HHS bill is only a fraction of the total allocation for these programs.  Congress, after agreeing to a budget resolution, set the discretionary allocations for this bill at $97.2 billion in the House and $100 billion in the Senate.  The President's request for Labor/HHS discretionary spending totaled $106.1 billion.  Discretionary spending for the Department of Education includes funding for nearly all the SMET education activities, such as the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education, the Eisenhower Professional Development States Grants, and the Eisenhower Regional Consortia.  Because the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) is up for reauthorization, funding for DoEd has been complicated, with programs proposed by the president going unfunded (because of being unauthorized programs) and programs proposed by the Congress in the several ESEA bills receiving funding contingent on being signed into law.

Most Recent Action
On June 30th, the Senate passed the FY 2001 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill, S. 2553, in a 52-43 vote.  Several amendments were offered during Senate floor debate, including one offered by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) that would increase funding for the Interagency Education Research Initiative to total $20 million.  After passing S. 2553, the Senate announced its conferees -- Arlen Specter (R-PA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Slade Gorton (R-WA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Larry Craig (R-ID), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Ton Harkin (D-IA), Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Herbert Kohl (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Robert Byrd (D-WV) -- to the House-Senate conference where they will iron out differences between the two bills.  Earlier in June, the House of Representatives passed their version of the FY 2001 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill in a 217-214 vote.


  House Action    Senate Action    Conference Action 

House Action
On May 10th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education marked up the FY 2001 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill.  Few specific numbers were released for programs within the Department of Education that address science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET) education.  The subcommittee press release stated that "in the critical areas of Elementary and Secondary Education, the bill provides an increase of $576 million more than last year."  The Teacher Empowerment Act (one of several bills introduced during the ESEA reauthorization that has not been signed into law) would be funded at $1.75 billion, "which is the same amount the President requested for his proposed class size reduction initiative."  The subcommittee also funded several of the block grants that the president eliminated from the budget request.

The full Appropriations Committee reported H.R. 4577, the FY 2001 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill, out of committee on May 24th.  During the committee markup, Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) introduced an amendment to the bill that "none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to carry out any activities related to any federally sponsored national test in reading, mathematics, or any other subject that is not specifically and explicitly provided for in authorizing legislation enacted into law."  Other funding levels for the Department of Education remained the same as reported out of subcommittee.  The committee report (H. Rep. 106-645) stated:

The Committee provides no separate line-item funding for the Eisenhower professional development state grants, the same as the budget request. This program was funded at $335,000,000 in fiscal year 2000. This program provides funds to state educational agencies, local educational agencies, state agencies for higher education, institutions of higher education and qualified non-profit organizations to support sustained and intensive high-quality professional development for educators in the core academic subjects.

Consistent with the Teacher Empowerment Act, the Committee has consolidated funding for this program under a new line item, subject to the Teacher Empowerment Actís enactment into law. The President has proposed a number of new national programs related to teachers, as well as consolidations and restructuring of existing teacher training programs, including the Eisenhower professional development program. The Committee is aware that these ideas are currently being considered through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Teacher training program funding will follow the structure that is ultimately agreed upon through this reauthorization process.

Shortly after the committee passed H.R. 4577, the White House's Office of Management and Budget released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) that threatens a presidential veto if the bill remains in its current version.  The SAP cites the failure of the committee to fund the president's class-size initiative and the $1 billion proposed for the Teaching to High Standards teacher quality programs, along with a slew of other "inadequacies."

Despite the president's veto threat, the House passed H.R. 4577 in a 204-172 vote on June 16th.  Several amendments were offered and passed during floor debate, but none of them directly affected SMET education.  After the House passed the bill, it was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which had already begun working on a Senate version of the bill.

Senate Action
On May 10th, the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee marked up the FY 2001 Labor/HHS bill, S. 2553.  The subcommittee press release provided no details on SMET education funding but did state that DoEd is marked to receive $40.2 billion, "an increase of $4.6 [billion] over FY'00, and $100 [million] over the [budget request]."  The following day, the full Appropriations Committee marked up the bill and passed it out of committee without changing any of the allocation levels for programs included in the bill.  The committee report (S. Rept. 106-293) states:

The Committee defers action on [the Teaching to High Standards] proposal  pending the outcome of reauthorization of elementary and secondary education programs. The administration requested $690,000,000 for the proposed Teaching to High Standards State grants program for fiscal year 2001. This new program would replace the Eisenhower Professional Development State Grants program, and distribute funds by formula to State educational agencies. Grants would support State and local efforts to align curricula and assessments with content standards, and provide teachers with high quality professional development in the core academic subjects.

Eisenhower professional development State grants: The Committee recommends $435,000,000 for Eisenhower professional development State grants, $100,000,000 more than the fiscal year 2000 appropriation. This program provides formula grants to States to support sustained and intensive high-quality professional development activities in the core academic subjects at the State and local levels.

The Committee emphasizes the priority of professional development in the fields of Math and Science. It also encourages state and local educational agencies to scrutinize the appropriateness and quality of training in all fields to be funded by this program.                                                            (emphasis added)

The committee would also provide $23.3 million for the Eisenhower Professional Development Federal Activities Program, a $1.7 million decrease from the budget request and the same as last year's funding levels.  The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education would receive $5.0 million, and the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia received $15.0 million.

Similar to the House Labor/HHS appropriation bill, the Senate version received a presidential veto threat and note from the Office of Management and Budget.  The Statement of Administration Policy made many of the same arguments used against the House version, such as the lack of funding for the President's Class-Size initiative and the Teaching to High Standards teacher quality programs.

The Senate began floor debate regarding S. 2553 on June 22nd.


Sources: USBudget.com, House Appropriations Committee website, EENews, Senate Appropriations Committee website, Department of Education website, and Library of Congress.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by Margaret Baker, AGI Government Affairs

Posted July 12, 2000


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