FY2004 Labor/HHS Appropriations (01-28-04)
The primary interest for the geoscience community with the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (known as the Labor/HHS) appropriations bill is the treatment of science education within the Department of Education (DoEd). When the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on January 8, 2002, it transformed the way in which the federal government funds elementary and secondary math and science education. In the past, math and science education was funded through the Eisenhower National Programs, which included the Eisenhower Professional Development Grants provided to each state, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), and the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia. The FY 2004 budget request would eliminate funding for the ENC in keeping with separate legislation passed in November 2002 to restructure the former DoEd Office of Educational Research and Improvement into the new Institute of Education Sciences. The No Child Left Behind Act also established Math/Science Partnerships (MSP) as a DoEd program to provide support for improving math and science education. This program is complemented by an identically named program at the National Science Foundation, funded through the VA, HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations legislation. For more information, see the American Institute of Physics FYI 2003-84.
Most Recent Action: On December 8th the House of Representatives approved the Consolidated Appropriations bill for FY04 by a vote of 242-176. Unable to chart the financial course the government will take next year by considering the thirteen appropriations bills one-by-one, Congress "wrapped" the seven outstanding bills together in a catchall legislative vehicle called an 'omnibus' bill. This bill, H.R. 2673, which includes funding for the Department of Education, was finally approved by the Senate on January 22, 2004. After two failed attempts to cut off debate, Senate Majority Leader Frist said that it was "time to move on", and the Senate agreed by a vote of 65-28. The bill was subsequently approved and will be signed by the president. (1/22/04)
For FY 2004, the president's budget request included a total of $55.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education. This represents an increase of nearly 9% from last year's funding level. But the funding request for MSP is only $12.5 million, 86% less than last year's allocation and less than the $100 million required by law to provide each state a proportional share of program funds. The president's budget calls for MSP grants to focus in 2004 on intensive summer institutes for teachers at the elementary and middle-school levels. For AGI's extended analysis of the president's request, click here.
The fiscal year (FY) 2004 spending bill for the Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Departments completed by the House Appropriations Committee in June would provide $150 million for the Department of Education's Math/Science Partnership (MSP) program. This towers above the administration's $12.5 million request and increases funding for the program by 50% over last year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee's FY 2004 Labor/HHS spending bill would provide $100.3 million for the MSP program. This figure represents the same level of funding the program received in FY 2003 but still comes in far and above the president's request.
On December 8th the House of Representatives approved the Consolidated Appropriations bill for FY04 by a vote of 242-176. Unable to chart the financial course the government will take next year by considering the thirteen appropriations bills one-by-one, Congress "wrapped" the seven outstanding bills together in a catchall legislative vehicle called an 'omnibus' bill. This bill, H.R. 2673, which includes funding for the Department of Education, has not yet been passed by the Senate. Instead, all departments and agencies covered in the $328 billion bill will be funded at FY03 levels through January 31, 2004. The Senate has tentatively scheduled their vote on this legislation for January 20, 2004 at 2:30 p.m.
The Department of Education was provided with a $2.9 billion increase, bringing it to a total of $56 billion. With more money to go around, the conferees agreed to the funding level proposed by the House and granted the Math and Science Partnerships $150 million for next year. The appropriators noted in their press release that they would like to see that increase translate to additional teachers trained in the fields of math and science.
Sources: American Institute of Physics, Department of Education, House Committee on Appropriations, Library of Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Brett Beaulieu and Deric Learman, AGI/AIPG 2003 Summer Interns; Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program staff and Gayle Levy, AGI/AAPG 2004 Spring Semester Intern
Last Update January 28, 2004