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Policy News

DEC
15

UPDATE: FY15 spending bill passed into law; includes increase in federal afterschool funding

After a week of wrangling and late night sessions in Congress, the Senate passed the hybrid continuing resolution/omnibus government-spending bill HR 83 the evening of Saturday, December 13th. The final bipartisan vote in the Senate was 56 to 40. The House passed the bill two nights earlier on Thursday, Dec. 11th, by a bipartisan vote of 219-206. The bill funds most federal programs through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2015, and provides temporary funding for the Department of Homeland Security through a Continuing Resolution that expires on February 27, 2015. The President is expected to promptly sign the bill into law.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 funds the government at $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget agreement of December 2013. Overall the Department of Education was funded at $70.5 billion, a decrease of $133 million compared to FY14. With regard to afterschool and summer learning programs, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $2.3 million for FY15, bringing the total to $1.152 billion, up from $1.149 billion in FY14.

DEC
10

FY15 spending bill filed, on its way to House, Senate floor for passage

House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) filed their compromise Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill last night that, if passed by both Chambers and signed into law by President Obama, will keep the federal government funded through September 30, 2015. Currently, the government is funded through a Continuing Resolution that expires tomorrow, December 11th. The bill has strong implications for federal afterschool funding. 

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 funds the government at $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget agreement of December 2013. Overall the Department of Education was funded at $70.5 billion, a decrease of $133 million compared to FY14. With regard to afterschool and summer learning programs, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $2.3 million for FY15, bringing the total to $1.152 billion, up from $1.149 billion in FY14. 

DEC
2

Application currently being accepted for Performance Partnership Pilot (P3)

Late last month, five Federal agencies came together to offer a new opportunity to help communities overcome the obstacles they face in achieving better outcomes for disconnected youth – young people at high school age and older who are not in school and not employed. States, tribes, and municipalities can apply by March 4, 2015, to become Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies aimed at achieving significant improvements for disconnected youth in educational, employment, and other key outcomes.

The P3 initiative enables up to 10 pilot programs to blend funds that they currently receive from different discretionary programs administered by the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Authorized as part of the FY2014 Omnibus spending bill, P3 allows new flexibility under Federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements to overcome barriers and align program and reporting requirements, enabling applicants to propose the most effective ways to use these dollars. In addition, these pilots will receive start-up grants of up to $700,000.

NOV
19

Texas publishes statewide plan for expanded learning opportunities

The Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council was established by the Texas Legislature in 2013 in order to improve quality and access to expanded learning opportunities in the state, including afterschool and summer programs. On November 1, the ELO Council published its first report, 2016-2017 Statewide Strategic Plan for Expanded Learning Opportunities, with the support of the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST). In the report, the council states that “high-quality ELO programs provide safe places, support economic growth, and help close the academic achievement gap by offering supplemental activities that support but do not replicate the general education program.”

NOV
17

After 18 years, both chambers of Congress reauthorize CCDBG

Today the Senate followed the action of the House of Representatives this past September and passed S.1086–The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Amended Version. The bipartisan, bicameral bill represents a compromise of the legislation that passed the Senate in March by a vote of 96-2.  Due to the changes in the House version, the Senate has to pass the bill again before sending it to the president’s desk to be signed into law. This marks the first time in 18 years that comprehensive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization legislation has passed both the House and Senate.

The bill that passed reflects a bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional leaders in mid-September to reauthorize CCDBG after several months of negotiations by Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa), as well as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care for children of low-income families aged birth to 13.

Read Afterschool Snack blog entries about: Advocacy Congress Federal Policy Youth Development
NOV
13

Child Protection Improvements Act could still pass House and Senate

Legislation that would provide affordable and timely background checks to afterschool program providers still has a chance to pass during the 114th Congress.  The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA - S. 1362 and H.R. 3902) would provide afterschool and other youth-serving organizations with access to nationwide FBI fingerprint searches of potential volunteers at a reasonable cost and turnaround time.  The legislation addresses inadequacies within the current background check system, which include: lack of access to nationwide checks, high cost and an often-lengthy response time. 

In the wake of the 2014 midterm elections, time is running out for Members of Congress to pass CPIA before Congress adjourns in December. The legislation enjoys strong bipartisan support and this month the Afterschool Alliance joined MENTOR and 20 other youth serving organizations in signing letters to Senate and House leaders in support of the bill.

Read Afterschool Snack blog entries about: Federal Policy Legislation Youth Development
NOV
11

Lame duck ahead: FY15 spending decisions on the horizon

After more than a month-long recess leading up to the mid-term elections, Members of Congress are back in the Nation’s capitol and will be in session starting on Wednesday, November 12th for a “Lame Duck” session that must finalize the FY 2015 appropriations spending bills to fund federal government operations for the period December 12, 2014, through September 30, 2015. The government is currently funded through a continuing resolution (CR) at FY 2014 levels.

The Bipartisan Budget Act that passed in December 2013 capped discretionary spending at $1.014 trillion in FY 2015 – essentially the mid-point between Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion. The agreement restored $63 billion in sequestration cuts over two years, split evenly between defense and nondefense discretionary spending programs. Nondefense discretionary spending (which includes most federal support for afterschool and summer learning programs though the Department of Education and Health and Human Services) is capped at $492.4 billion in FY 2015, however that will change going into FY 2016 at which time nondefense discretionary spending faces a $43 billion (8 percent) cut, unless Congress acts to reverse sequestration.

NOV
7

Midterm election 2014: the potential impact on federal support of afterschool programs

After more than a year of anticipation, the 2014 midterm elections finally came and (mostly) went this week. With a few races still not officially decided, the headline is that the Republican Party will take over as the majority in the Senate in the next Congress with at least 52 seats, and they also added to their majority in the House. The 114th Congress, when it is sworn in early next year, will be one half of a divided government in Washington, opposite President Obama in the White House.  

The shift in control of Congress is potentially historic. In the House, the Republicans increased their majority to at least 243 seats, with Republican candidates leading in several undecided races. It is possible the Republican Party will control as many as 250 seats in the House, the largest Republican House majority since 1928.