Issue Brief

Summary and Analysis of President Obama's Education Budget Request

Fiscal Year 2013
February 15, 2012 |
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President Barack Obama submitted his fourth budget request to Congress on February 13th, 2012. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2013 funding levels for individual programs subject to appropriations. Congress will use the president's budget request to inform its consideration of tax and spending legislation later this year, including the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill that will set specific funding levels for federal education programs. Fiscal year 2013 begins October 1, 2012.

In August of 2011, Congress signed the Budget Control Act which set appropriations funding limits for 2013 at $1.047 trillion (excludes funding for overseas military operations, emergencies, and other adjustments). This is $4 billion above enacted 2012 appropriations. That law also established a congressional committee to draft legislation that would reduce the deficit over nine years. The committee failed to meet its goals last year, triggering a pending “sequester” (across-the-board spending cuts) of the yet-to-be enacted fiscal year 2013 appropriations. While the pending sequester is scheduled under current law, the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget request proposes that Congress pass legislation to turn it off, maintaining the appropriations funding limit of $1.047 trillion for fiscal year 2013.  

Despite the minimal increase in total appropriations funding allowed under the Budget Control Act (pre-sequestration), the administration has proposed an overall increase for education programs for fiscal year 2013. In fact, under the president's proposal, the U.S. Department of Education would receive the largest increase (in absolute terms) in discretionary funding from fiscal year 2012 levels compared to any other non-security domestic agency.

The administration has proposed a $69.8 billion budget for education programs subject to the annual appropriations process, up from $68.1 billion in 2012. The increase is due to moderate funding increases for several programs, including Race to the Top, Work-Study grants, and the Teacher Incentive Fund. Other key programs, such as Title I Part A grants to local educational agencies, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B grants to states, and Pell Grants would be funded at 2012 levels. In addition, the president is requesting $62.9 billion in fiscal year 2012 for education stimulus spending under his American Jobs Act proposal outlined in 2011. This funding is proposed in addition to the enacted fiscal year 2012 appropriations totaling $68.1 billion for the Department of Education.

This issue brief provides a summary and analysis of the president's fiscal year 2013 education budget request.

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