President Trump’s budget proposal made a big splash by proposing to eliminate funding for some major ESSA programs. The proposal to eliminate the teacher development program under Title II and Title IV, Part B - 21st Century Community Learning Centers received the most attention.
When it comes to congressional agreement however, Congress does not see eye to eye with the with the Trump budget proposal in the area of education. In recent meetings with State education leaders, Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee was asked how he felt about the cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget. He responded by saying that Congress authorized funding for all of these programs because they believe in them and want them to work. Thus it is unlikely that Congress will go along with eliminating these programs. There will likely be reductions to funding, but it is extremely unlikely that programs will be eliminated.
Many believe that this is Trump’s attempt to start from a strong position in the budget negotiation process with Congress. The strategy is that if a program is cut, but spared from elimination, then people will feel it is a victory that the program was saved. Prior to Trump’s budget proposal people may have felt that it would only be a victory if funding were increased.
Congress only very recently passed ESSA with bipartisan support, so the critical thing to remember is that this is just a proposal. Congress receives presidential budget proposals, however, they are not bound to abide by them. A presidential budget proposal provides Congress with information about the priorities of the current administration. It can be used to help guide their decisions in the budget development process, but ultimately the decision is up to Congress to pass a law that determines where funding will be spent.
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