• October 23, 2014

House Republicans Single Out Student Aid for Cuts in Plan to Slash 2012 Spending

Washington

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled today a budget blueprint for the 2012 fiscal year that would return non-security discretionary spending to a level below that of 2008 and then freeze it at that level for five years.

To achieve that target, the plan, known as a budget resolution, would end hundreds of "duplicative" programs, continue a ban on earmarks, and slash billions from social programs, including federal student aid.

While the resolution leaves the specifics to appropriators, it singles out Pell Grants and job-training programs as areas ripe for reductions. Among its "major proposals" under the header of "Preparing the Workforce for a 21st Century Economy" are cutting Pell Grants to their pre-stimulus (2008) level "to curb rising tuition" and consolidating overlapping job-training programs into "accountable career scholarships."

It's unlikely that Republicans will be able to achieve all of the cuts they're seeking, given certain opposition from Senate Democrats. Lawmakers are currently wrangling over a budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year that would cut government spending by roughly $33-billion—less than half the $72-bilion in cuts that House Republicans are seeking for 2012.

Still, the fact that such a compromise is in the works suggests that additional spending cuts are likely, if not certain.

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