NSC, CIAW Full-Year 2015 Spending Bill

November 17, 2014

On November 11, National Skills Coalition wrote to leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees urging them to enact an omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY 2015).

FY 2015 began on October 1. Following the August recess, Congress passed a short-term “continuing resolution” (CR) that essentially extended FY 2014 funding levels through December 11. Congress must pass another spending bill before the CR expires to avoid a government shutdown. NSC’s letter asks Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill – setting specific funding levels by program – rather than merely extending current levels. By merely passing another CR, Congress would abdicate its responsibility to make program-by-program funding decisions and provide necessary guidance to federal agencies.

NSC’s letter also requests that Congress:

  • Restore funding for federal employment and training programs to at least 2010 levels, and at a minimum, fund the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) at congressionally authorized levels
  • Restore the “ability-to-benefit” provisions that allow students who lack a high school diploma or equivalent but can demonstrate college readiness to become eligible for federal financial aid
  • Provide necessary funding (at least $250 million above regular program appropriations) to implement WIOA

Earlier this year, the Senate Labor-HHS-Education (Labor-H) subcommittee – whose appropriations bill funds most education and training programs – passed a Labor-H bill that provides for increases in WIOA formula funds as well as increases to other programs. The full Senate Appropriations committee has not yet taken up the bill. In the House, House Labor-H subcommittee ranking member Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) released a Labor-H bill similar to what was passed by the senate Labor-H subcommittee. That bill has not been taken up by the House Appropriations committee and it is unlikely that it would be considered.

Given that the Senate majority will flip Republican in the new Congress, the House has little incentive to move forward with a comprehensive spending bill in a lame duck session. It is more likely that Congress will pass another short term extension that extends current levels through the new year and will then try to pass a more comprehensive bill once the new Congress is seated in January.