House Republicans Push to Slash Pell Grants, Ed Funding

As part of the program to shrink the national deficit, House Republicans have introduced a proposal that would cut funding to Pell college tuition grants, NPR and 30 other education programs, the San Fransisco Chronicle reports. The House Appropriation committee, whose members authored the legislation, are also seeking to eliminate President Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative. The Committee is also looking to withdraw funding for programs unrelated to education.

The panel proposed slashing the Department of Labor’s budget by one-fifth, slicing funds for the National Labor Relations Board by 17 percent and barring funds to implement Obama’s health-care overhaul. It would also withhold funding for Planned Parenthood unless it says it will stop providing abortions.

The current round of proposals is meant to set up a funding plan to allow the Federal Government to operate at least until November 18th of this year. To make that happen, the Republicans are renewing their calls for a complete defunding of National Public Radio, and the elimination of the AmeriCorps Program started by President Clinton.

Fox News expects the fight over the new measure to be arduous. Many of the Republican proposals are opposed not just by the Democrats, but also by Tea Partiers. A combined effort of Tea Partiers and Democrats have already held up the bill from advancing in the appropriations process.

The measure represents a $4 billion, or 2.5 percent, cut below current spending levels for the programs it covers. Democrats complained that the measure is bearing the brunt of cuts imposed this summer as part of an agreement between Republicans and Obama on agency spending levels for the upcoming decade as part of legislation permitting an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.

The proposal would overhaul the federal Pell grant program almost completely. Although the full amount of the grant will continue to be $5,500, the program itself will lose $3.6 billion in funding. The savings will be achieved via disqualifying kids who didn’t graduate high school, or those not attending full-time, from getting the grants, and also shrinking the number of times the grant can be received from 18 semesters, to 12.