Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Washington UPDATE: Congress, Clinton May Force Education to Pay Highway Toll

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Washington UPDATE: Congress, Clinton May Force Education to Pay Highway Toll

Article excerpt

Washington UPDATE: Congress, Clinton May Force Education to Pay Highway Toll

When is $200 billion a major problem? When it begins to crowd out spending on education, advocates say.

Last month, Congress authorized $203 billion in new federal spending on highways and other transportation projects during the next decade. President Bill Clinton is expected to sign the legislation, which calls for new spending of $25 billion in 1999 alone.

Those who negotiated the package want full funding of the new highway projects -- as well as tax cuts -- without jeopardizing an expected budget surplus.

"It doesn't leave much room for new education spending," one advocate said.

The transportation bill is one of several recent developments that signal potential cuts ahead for higher education, barring intensive lobbying efforts from advocates or the Clinton administration, advocates say. For some, these recent events surrounding the social-servicesversus-highway-pork debate send a disturbing signal.

To help pay for the transportation bill, Congress cut $8 billion from a program important to at-risk children, the Social Services Block Grant. The block grant should enjoy a stronger following tin Capitol Hill because it provides the type of state flexibility Republicans usually like. In 1995 alone, states spent 15 percent of grant funds on child development and 18 percent on education, special services, job training, and protective services for youth.

"It's one thing to cut the program to spend more on Head Start," or similar education priorities, said Wendell Primus, an analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based group that works on behalf of the poor. "It's another to cut the program to pay for highways."

Then there are the budget negotiations. The House in early June rejected a budget plain that provided spending hikes for the budget category with Pell Grants, Head Start, and Title I education. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.