Republicans Reach Deal on FY 2016 Budget Blueprint

Congressional Republicans reached agreement on a budget blueprint for the 2016 fiscal year that could lead to deep cuts in education spending and a reduction in benefits for student loan borrowers, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

The U.S. Senate adopted the plan on Tuesday; the House of Representatives approved the measure last week. The blueprint, which will guide appropriators as they draft spending bills for the fiscal year that begins in October, does not require a signature from President Obama, according to The Hill.

Under the plan, lawmakers are set to eliminate mandatory Pell Grant funding, subjecting the program's entire budget to the annual appropriations process. Advocates worry that a shift back to 100-percent discretionary funding would make Pell Grants vulnerable to budget cuts.

The budget proposal also assumes that appropriators will abolish the in-school interest subsidy on Stafford loans, reverse a recent expansion of income-based repayment, and end public-sector loan forgiveness. The three provisions would save taxpayers more than $61 billion over 10 years, according to budget estimates, but would also make student loans more expensive for borrowers.

While members of the appropriations committees are not bound by the blueprint, they will have to find savings elsewhere if they reject its proposed cuts.

 

Related Links

The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/Republicans-Agree-on-Spending/229863

The Hill

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/241120-republicans-pass-a-budget-flexing-power-of-majority