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Washington Update: Federal Budget Outlook; Statement on PARTNERSHIPS Act

Late Monday night, the White House and congressional leaders unveiled a bipartisan budget proposal that would raise the debt ceiling and lift topline budget caps. While the budget deal is not perfect, it is likely the only opportunity to raise discretionary spending for the next two years. In the absence of a budget deal, Congress would likely have to enact a year-long continuing resolution (CR) for FY2016, and another CR for FY2017. For these reasons, APLU will encourage Congress to pass the deal, which is expected to come before the House and Senate this week.

Relevant features of the proposed agreement include:

• Raising the debt ceiling until March 2017

• Increasing discretionary spending by $80 billion over two years, evenly divided between defense and nondefense. That includes $50 billion for FY2016, with $25 billion going to defense discretionary and $25 billion to non-defense discretionary and $30 billion for FY 2017, with $15 billion going to defense discretionary and $15 billion to non-defense discretionary.

APLU President Peter McPherson and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) President Muriel Howard released a statement on the introduction of legislation sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) to address college affordability. Among other beneficial provisions, the legislation would create a federal state partnership program in which the federal government incentivizes states to reinvest in public higher education by matching state investment up to $1,700 per student.

“The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) applaud and thank Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for championing landmark legislation to address the issue of college affordability. The PARTNERSHIPS Act is groundbreaking in its recognition of state disinvestment as the main driver of tuition hikes at public colleges and universities. During the six year period of 2006-2007 to 2012-2013, after adjusting for inflation, four-year public universities experienced state funding cuts of $2,370 per student. These significant appropriations cuts come at a time of heightened demand for public higher education. Total enrollments at four-year public institutions of higher education increased by 35 percent between 2000 and 2012.” Read the full statement.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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