Update 2, March 23, 8 a.m.: After The House approved the $1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus spending package on Thursday in a 256-167 vote, the Senate passed it just after midnight Friday in a 65-32 vote that averted a government shutdown. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature later today.
Update, March 22, 2 p.m.: This afternoon the House of Representatives quickly passed the Omnibus package of 12 appropriations bills funding all government operations through the end of fiscal year 2018, which is six months away on September 30. The bill passed the House easily, by a vote of 256-167. It now goes to the Senate, where the process could be much slower.
After weeks of discussions culminating in a final week of further negotiations, the House released a $1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus spending bill late on March 21, 2018, which will fund the government through September 30, 2018. Votes on the measure are expected this week as early as Thursday afternoon, as failure to pass a spending bill by midnight Friday, March 23 would lead to a government shutdown.
What's in the bill?
Congress funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers $20 million above the FY2017 level, increasing available funding to $1.21 billion—a win for children, families and the country. The proposed increase means doors to quality local afterschool and summer learning programs will stay open for 1.6 million students and families. Additionally, it will make programs available for 20,000 of the 19.4 million students currently waiting for access.
This funding level increase is especially noteworthy following President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program in both the FY2018 and FY2019 budget proposals, which drove friends of afterschool to reach out to Congress with more than 103,000 calls and emails since January 2017, energized supporters to turn out at town halls in their communities, and prompted more than 600 local, state, and national organizations to sign a letter in support of Community Learning Centers sent to Congress last week. Champions of the program on Capitol Hill showed strong support for Community Learning Centers as well, with 111 members of the House coming together across party lines and signing a letter in support of the program earlier this week. A huge thank-you to all who worked so hard in support of Community Learning Center funds.
Other funding streams that can be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs were largely supported in the proposed omnibus:
What comes next?
The bill could come to the House floor for a vote as early as Thursday, March 22. The Senate would follow with votes in anticipation of passing the fiscal year 2018 spending bill before the continuing resolution expires this Friday at midnight, March 23.
With both the House and Senate expected to vote on the omnibus spending bill this week, friends of afterschool can reach out to their senators and representatives to weigh in on the importance of the bill.
Though Community Learning Centers see increased funding in this year’s bill, our field must not stop speaking out. Earlier this week Education Secretary DeVos defended the president’s FY2019 proposal to eliminate afterschool funding erroneously claiming there was no evidence to support afterschool and summer learning. We need afterschool supporters to make your voices heard as Congress moves ahead with the FY2019 appropriations process, the second year of President Trump wanting to eliminate funding for afterschool and summer learning altogether. With your help, we will continue seeing wins like the one we are celebrating today for America’s kids and families.
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