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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Inside the spending cuts House Republicans are fighting for - The Washington Post

"One quarter of all the savings House Republicans’ bills would achieve comes from cutting a single program that provides funding for low-income schools, known as Title I education grants.

House Republicans want to cut Title I by nearly 80 percent, saving $14.7 billion.

The cuts are even steeper than education funding reductions proposed by the Center for Renewing America, a think tank led by Russ Vought, former president Donald Trump’s White House budget director.

The think tank put out a budget proposal in December that called for cutting $8.2 billion from the Department of Education’s elementary and secondary education programs, which include Title I grants. (House Republicans would cut $14.7 billion from Title I in the 2024 fiscal year compared with the previous year, while the Center for Renewing America proposed cutting $8.2 billion from almost 30 elementary and secondary education programs in the 2023 fiscal year compared with the 2021 fiscal year.)

The Title I cuts are included in one of two appropriations bills that haven’t made it out of committee yet. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to meet today to discuss how to move forward, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Democrats have warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts could cost up to 224,000 teachers their jobs, and teachers unions have mobilized to lobby against them.

“Title I funding helps fill in the gaps that have existed in all our systems for generations, especially in our public schools,” Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, said in a statement to The Early. “It is unconscionable that House Republicans would try to strip away desperately needed funds from our most vulnerable, most marginalized students.”

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee behind the proposed Title I cuts, said Republicans want to cut the program so deeply for two reasons.

First, that’s where the money is. It’s a relatively big program, and Republicans could achieve a lot of savings by cutting it deeply.

Second, Washington sent more than $100 billion in relief funds to public schools during the pandemic, and some of the money remains unspent.

  • “There was $27 billion that was provided from pandemic legislation that is still in the pipeline, so to speak,” Aderholt said in an interview this month. “Therefore, you would expect that that money be spent before you would be going and asking for more money.”

Democrats say any unspent relief funds are needed to help schools and students recover from the pandemic. The legislation was designed so that schools don’t need to spend the money until next year.

  • “We need the money to fight learning loss,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee that Aderholt leads.

What’s more, House Republicans’ cuts don’t take into account how much schools have left in pandemic relief funds.

  • “Title I is a formula grant based on how poor the school district is,” Kogan, who previously worked in the Biden White House as an OMB adviser, wrote in an email to The Early. “House Republicans didn’t modify it to be based on how much money is left over. So, if your school district is very poor and so is most likely to have used up all its [American Rescue Project] money, this 80 percent cut will simply leave you without money for this coming year.”

Aderholt, who represents a poor district himself, said he understood DeLauro’s argument. But as Republicans looked to make deep spending cuts, he said, he tried to prioritize what he believed schools truly needed as opposed to “what would really be nice to have.”

“When you’re forced to make cuts and you’re given a budget and you see [pandemic relief] money that’s already in there, it’s just hard to give more money into an area where you see there’s money that’s already available,” he said.

Biden is heading to Michigan this morning, where he’ll appear with the striking United Auto Workers and become the first president to walk a picket line — a day before “former president Donald Trump will arrive in the next county over, trying to tap into the same angst among industrial workers,” as our colleagues Matt Viser and Isaac Arnsdorf write.

We’ll be watching what Biden — who is known for going off script — says and does when he shows up on the picket line.

“White House officials on Monday did not specify what would occur during Biden’s visit, including whether he planned to address the crowd, hoist a sign or meet with auto company representatives,” Matt and Isaac write.

We’re watching how many more Democratic senators urge Sen. Robert Menendez(D-N.J.) to resign after he was indicted on Friday on bribery charges. Sens. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and John Fetterman (D-Pa.) have done so already — and we expect every other Democrat to face a barrage of Menendez questions in the hallway as senators return to Washington today.

One Democrat who’s certain to be swarmed by reporters: Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), who hasn’t weighed in so far.

What is affected by a government shutdown and how it could affect you

The United States is barreling toward a government shutdown, and “basic federal services hang in the balance,” our colleague Jacob Bogage reports. Here’s some of what to expect if the government shuts down on Oct. 1: 

  • Funding for food assistance could run out: “Programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) or WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) have contingency funds that can carry over past the government funding deadline,” Jacob writes. “But that funding only lasts so long, meaning a protracted shutdown of a month or more could make some aid disbursements difficult.”
  • Military service members would work without pay: “The roughly 1.3 million active-duty U.S. military service members would remain on the job without pay during a government shutdown. They would receive backpay after the shutdown ends, as would all the other federal workers forced to keep working during the period.”
  • Veteran benefits, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will continue: Ninety-six percent of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ “nearly 414,000 employees would continue working, either because their pay doesn’t depend to annual appropriations or because they are exempt from furloughs,” Jacob writes. “Medicare and Medicaid, like Social Security, are funded separately from annual appropriations, so those benefits will continue uninterrupted.”

Ralph Nader, wary of Trump, offers to help Biden win

Our colleague Michael Scherer sat down with political firebrand Ralph Nader,who, despite being exiled from the U.S. Senate by then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) in 2000, wants everyone to know that defeating Trump “has become his overriding political mission.” 

Inside the spending cuts House Republicans are fighting for - The Washington Post

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