John Kline (R-MN-02), the Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, voted for the Budget Control Act setting in motion for Congress to take the responsibility to put forward a fair, balanced and responsible fiscal plan.
In order to force a decision, the legislation created automatic budget cuts if there is not agreement on a long-term plan by the end of this year.
If an agreement is not reached to reduce the long-term budget deficit by $1.2 trillion, automatic budget cuts are set to take effect starting in January — $109 billion in federal spending cuts split evenly between defense spending and domestic programs.
According to MPR reporting, Chairman Kline is “worried that the automatic budget cuts could devastate the economy by throwing thousands of defense contractors out of work.”
Great … so Chairman Kline confirms the obvious … his focus is on serving those that mean the most to his party managers … but for Minnesotans, it is his failure to address the impact of the domestic cuts is troubling.
Ignoring the problem will not make it go away, but that is what Chairman Kline is apparently doing.
This week the Education and Workforce Committee does not have any hearings scheduled … although members have requested a hearing, writing :
As you know, if Congress doesn’t chart a different fiscal path, federal programs will see cuts of approximately 8 percent at a time when out economy needs federal support, not abandonment.
Much has been said of the impact of sequestration on civilian and military jobs in the defense industry, but as Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zeings has pointed out, “less attention has been paid to its equally harsh effects on domestic programs.”
Educational programs, for example, sit squarely within those crosshairs. Those programs not only aim to give all children an equal opportunity to succeed. They also are critical to the long-term strength of our economy. Earlier this year, the Council on Foreign Relations released a report entitled, “U.S. Education Reform and National Security.” The report found that failures in America’s education system poses threats to national security, including to economic growth and competitiveness.
The letter lists some potential impacts including job losses and program cuts, and concludes “To avoid the fiscal cliff, choices will have to be made. The states are high for workers, families and children.”
So, a “fiscal cliff” is approaching … and Chairman Kline is taking a week off … well actually, the month off … as Majority Leader Eric Cantor has scheduled the House to be on recess from August 4th through September 9th.
So what is the impact to Minnesota if no action is taken ?
After all, a laid-off teacher is just as unemployed as a laid-off defense contractor … except the teacher’s job will have an immediate impact … as America does not have stockpile of “education weapons” if attacked.
One program that Chairman Kline has vocally supported is Federal funding for IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to help States and local communities meet the excess costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities.
States are required to provide a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities. In 1975, the Federal Government committed to pay 40 percent of such costs, but now provides only 16.3 percent. President Obama’s FY2013 request for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding was essentially level funding while Chairman Kline wanted to increase it to 17% but that may not happen. Minnesota under the sequestration concept would lose $14,545,082 … and decreased Federal revenue means that State and local revenue will need to cover required costs.
Lindsay Jones, senior director of policy and advocacy services at the Council for Exceptional Children is concerned, “School districts around the nation have seen deep cuts in funding over the last few years as our nation confronts a recession, increased needs, and declining revenues. These cuts have impacted districts’ ability to provide services to children in need—further cuts won’t help.”
Chairman Kline’s knows that already … after all, it’s the same concern expressed by Chairman Kline just last year –
“I have heard too many stories from schools in Minnesota and across the nation who have been forced to choose between cutting bus routes, eliminating extracurricular activities, or increasing class sizes to meet this mandate while facing shrinking budgets. If the federal government paid what it promised, schools across America would be able to direct limited resources to address their specific needs – whether it is state of the art classrooms, additional teachers, or new textbooks – and make it possible for teachers and administrators to focus on the important job of providing the best education possible for all our children.”
But that is what will happen … not only to Special Education but also to too many other programs.
According to information prepared by the Senate’s Appropriations Committee staff, Minnesota would be hit hard … impacting Education programs, job creation programs, seniors, and low-income families.
Considered these programs and the dollars that Minnesota is projected to lose :
Minnesota FY 13 Sequester Cut Impact
Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies
Title I is the cornerstone Federal program for helping all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, meet high academic standards. More than 90 percent of the Nation’s local educational agencies (LEAs) receive these funds, which are allocated by formula based largely on LEA family income levels.
School Improvement Grants
SIG funding helps turn around persistently low-achieving schools.
Improving Teacher Quality State Grants
Improving Teacher Quality State Grants is a formula-based program that assists States and LEAs in developing, supporting and retaining a high-quality workforce of educators.
21st Century Community Learning Centers
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program enables States to provide funds on a competitive basis to local communities for the purpose of establishing expanded learning opportunities for students, through before- and after-school programs, summer school, and extended school year programs.
These funds offset the additional costs or lost revenue associated with educating students who have a parent on active military duty, reside on Indian lands or have some other connection to the federal government that either lowers the local tax base or increases the number of students served by the school district.
Special Education Preschool State Grants
The Special Education Preschool State Grants program authorized under section 619 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides formula-based grants to States that support high-quality early childhood education for children with disabilities ages 3-5.
Special Education Grants for Infants and Families
Special Education Grants for Infants and Families support statewide systems of early intervention services for children from birth through age 2 and their families.
English Language Acquisition State Grants
English Language Acquisition State Grants help English language learners and recent immigrant students learn English and become proficient in academic content standards.
Federal Work Study
Federal Work Study (FWS) programs provide funding to colleges and universities to help low- and middle-income undergraduate and graduate students pay for postsecondary education through part-time employment at their college or university, public agency, private company, or nonprofit organization.
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are allocated by formula to qualifying postsecondary institutions to provide grants to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
Head Start provides competitive grants to local organizations to provide comprehensive early childhood services for low-income children and families.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant is allocated by formula to States to provide subsidies to low-income working families to help pay for child care and improve the quality of States’ child care programs.
The Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which provides funding to States on a formula basis to target their most urgent maternal and child health needs, including prenatal care, well child services, infant mortality, injury and violence, oral healthcare, racial and ethnic disparities, and comprehensive care through clinics, home visits, and school-based health programs.
The AIDS Drug Assistance Program provides life-saving medications that treat HIV disease in people who are uninsured.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides grants to all State health departments and 7 urban health districts to prevent the spread of HIV.
The Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening program allocates grants to States to help low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services.
Childhood Immunization Program allocated by formula to States to purchase vaccines for pertussis (Tdap), measles and mumps (MMR), influenza and Hepatitis B for uninsured children.
Public Health Emergency grants are allocated to States by formula to upgrade their ability to respond to a range of public health threats, including infectious diseases, natural disasters, explosions, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events.
Federal law requires that nursing homes be inspected every 15 months, home health agencies every 3 years. This program also pays for routine inspections of labs, hospitals, transplant centers, hospices, ambulatory surgical centers, and outpatient rehabilitation clinics.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is allocated by formula to States to provide home heating and cooling assistance to low-income individuals and families.
The Family Violence and Prevention Services program provides grants to local organizations to prevent domestic violence and provide emergency shelter and related services to victims of domestic violence.
The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant provides formula-based grants to States for the provision of treatment and recovery support services for individuals and families affected by alcohol and drug addiction.
$1,927,152 plus the Red Lake Indians program would be impacted by cuts of $47,497 alone.
Senior nutrition programs are formula-based grants to States that provide congregate and home-delivered meals to seniors in need, many of whom suffer from limited mobility or geographic isolation.
Through a number of programs, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) State Grants provide employment and training services to low-skilled, disadvantaged and underemployed adults; dislocated workers needing new or upgraded skills; and youth who have dropped out of high school and want to go back to school or enter the labor market.
WIA Adult State Grants
WIA Dislocated Worker State Grants
WIA Youth State Grants
Through the “one stop” system, the program helps disadvantaged populations obtain employment. It also serves middle- and high-skill workers who are unemployed for the first time and need assistance in understanding their local job market and career opportunities available to them.
Job Corps provides economically at-risk youth with academic and vocational training that will help them secure a job, pursue more training or education, or join the military after graduating from the program.
Veterans Employment and Training
The Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program provides grants on a formula basis to State workforce agencies. This funding is used to increase employment opportunities for veterans. In June 2012, veterans who served in our military in or after September 2001 had an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, a rate 17 percent higher than nonveterans.
Congress should debate the merits of these programs, determine where cuts should be made … sadly, Chairman Kline is derelict in his responsibilities … Chairman Kline is more concerned about the Armed Services Committee than his own Education and Workforce Committee … and more concerned about appeasing his Party Managers and their benefactors than his Minnesota constituents.
If you see Chairman Kline throughout August (he might be out of the state fundraising), ask him why he isn’t in Washington being part of the solution.