The U.S. Department of Education would receive $49 billion — an increase of about $5.5 billion, or 13%, over fiscal year 2022 — for federal K-12 education programs, according to a spending plan released Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Included in the FY 2023 bill for pre-K-12 education is $20.1 billion for Title I grants, $15.3 billion for special education, and $12 billion for Head Start, all of which are at lower levels than the House Appropriations Committee plan and President Joe Biden's request. The Senate Appropriations Committee's proposal is part of a $1.7 trillion FY23 appropriations bill for the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Education, Health and Human Services and more.
The bill's text and supporters say the education portion addresses the continuing pandemic recovery effort for schools and fosters equitable ways to get young children and students back on track.
“These bills are an investment in the American people that promote affordable housing, help families put food on the table, support the education and care of our children and young people, combat climate change, improve health care access, and invest in our communities," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, in a statement.
Other education-related items in the bill include:
A number of proposals for family engagement, including including $45 million, an increase of $15 million, for Parent Information Centers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Support for access to childcare and early childhood education, including $7.2 billion, an increase of $1 billion, for Child Care and Development Block Grants.
An additional investment of $95 million for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or at-risk of such delays and their families, for a total of $591.3 million.
The bill was immediately denounced by Republicans, who opposed the size of proposed spending for non-defense programs and the inclusion of funds to support abortions, including for the costs of travel and lodging to obtain abortions and the construction of abortion facilities, according to a statement.
"Like last year, Senate Democrats have unveiled partisan appropriations bills that spend billions more than even the Administration’s wasteful request. These drafts fail to appropriately allocate resources to our national defense, remove important legacy riders that enjoyed broad, bipartisan support just four months ago, and are filled with poison pills," said Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, in a statement.
With partisan divide and an August recess, it's uncertain if Congress will agree on a spending plan before Oct. 1, the first day of the 2023 fiscal year.