By: Lindsay E. Jones, NCLD Policy & Advocacy Director, Published Date: December 11, 2013 10:38 AM
Finally, some good news from Washington, D.C.
Negotiators in Congress have reached a tentative budget deal. The proposal would restore about 87 percent of funding for domestic discretionary programs, which includes funding for education. The deal would roll back sequestration cuts for the next two years. This could give Congress a way forward to boost support for disadvantaged children and students in special education. Under the deal, the deficit would also be reduced by $23 billion.
Is This Deal Perfect?No. As we’ve said time and time again, Congress needs to step up and fully fund the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act as well as invest in education generally. But we think restoring 87 percent of education funding for the next two years moves us in the right direction.
Is This a Done Deal?Not yet. The proposal was negotiated by Democratic Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Republican Representative Paul Ryan (WI), but Congress will have to still have to vote and approve the deal. It looks like votes on the deal are scheduled for late this week or early next.
Did You Make a Difference?Yes. More than 1,000 of you took our survey about budget cuts in your local schools—we used the results of the survey to create a budget infographic presentation for Congress. In addition, more than 3,000 of you took action and wrote directly to your Senators and Representatives. Congressional staffers have stopped me in the halls of Congress to tell me that both the budget survey and your emails have influenced the budget discussion.
Bottom line—this is not a perfect deal, but it’s a good step. Your actions made a difference and Congress should approve this deal.
If you want to learn more about the current deal, take a look at this Education Week article, which gives more specifics.
Lindsay is the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the National Center for Learning Disabilities. She leads a team that designs and implements NCLD’s legislative strategy in Washington, D.C., aimed at advancing government policies that support the success of individuals with learning disabilities in school, at work and in life.