House Republicans Seek to Eliminate 31 Education Programs and Tighten Pell Eligibility

House Republicans unveiled a bill today that would eliminate 31 education programs and cut spending on many more. The bill, introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg, Republican of Montana and chairman of the House Appropriations panel that oversees education, would maintain a maximum Pell grant of $5,550, but tighten eligibility criteria for the grants.

The bill would end aid to many minority-serving institutions while cutting spending on Hispanic-serving institutions by 83 percent and on historically black colleges by 36 percent. It would also do away with two vocational-rehabilitation programs and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, or Fipse.

Mr. Rehberg has not scheduled a vote on the bill, which also finances programs under the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services, and it is not clear he will do so. His panel has already canceled two meetings to vote on a spending measure for the 2012 fiscal year, which starts Monday.

Instead, Mr. Rehberg’s bill will most likely serve as the House Republican bargaining position when lawmakers meet to craft an omnibus spending package later this year. Until then, the government will operate under a series of stopgap spending measures financing programs at 2011 levels.

Congress approved one such measure on Thursday, keeping the government from shutting down this weekend.


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