Federal FY 16 Budget Update

The House and Senate Budget Committees are deliberating their FY 16 budget resolutions this week. The budget resolutions mark the next step in the budget process, following the release of President Obama’s FY 16 budget request in early February.


On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Price (R-GA) released his budget resolution for FY 16. Entitled, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America, it gets to a balanced budget in eight years, solely by cutting domestic spending. The Price budget slashes spending for non-defense discretionary (or NDD, where most education programs reside) by $750 billion. For NDD, the House Budget maintains the FY 2016 sequester cap. That means it will be virtually impossible to obtain any of the increases for education proposed in the President’s budget (such as the $1 billion Title I increase). Regarding K-12 education, the budget includes this vague statement: Our budget places a strong emphasis on returning the power to make education policy decisions to state and local governments, to families, and to students, rather than allowing choices to be made by bureaucrats in Washington. It eliminates unsuccessful and duplicative K-12 programs in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness. It promotes innovation and choices that provide for flexibility and innovative teaching methods.


On Wednesday, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Enzi (R-WY) released his FY 16 budget resolution, Balanced Budget that Supports Economic Growth and Expands Opportunities for Hardworking Families. The resolution doesn’t focus much on education, but it continues a trend of low-spending on discretionary programs. While largely lacking in specifics, the Enzi budget gets to balance in ten years compared to eight in the House. It would reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion over 10 years, compared to $5.6 in the House budget. It maintains the FY 16 sequester caps for both defense and NDD. As in the House, it cuts NDD every year starting in FY 17 but by a smaller amount than the House. Enzi cuts NDD by $237 billion, while the House does so by $759 billion. The Senate budget also contains a reserve fund that would potentially allow for an increase in the spending caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending that could offer some relief from the spending ceilings.

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The budget process will continue to unfold in the coming months, and the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group members will receive additional updates through the Policy Insider.