Friday, July 10, 2009

House Subcommittee Approves FY 2010 Spending Bill

The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2010 spending bill this morning. In addition to boosting the FY 2010 Pell Grant maximum by $200, to $5,550, the legislation provides $20 million increases for both the TRIO and GEAR UP programs. The bill also calls for additional funding for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions.

Recognizing that health care reform remains a top priority this year, Chairman David Obey expressed support for greater investments in health care training programs. In addition to providing $530 million to HRSA to expand health professions training programs, the House measure calls for dedicating a significant portion of the funding for the new Career Pathways Innovation Fund to this purpose.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed in his FY 2010 budget to replace the Community-Based Job Training Grants program with a new Career Pathways Innovation Fund. Community colleges would continue to have a central role, but the focus would shift to career pathways. While the House spending bill includes $135 million for this new Career Pathways program, it also stipulates that a minimum of $65 million from these funds be directed toward “competitive grants to community colleges and partnerships with local adult education providers to train nurses, medical technicians, and others for skilled jobs in the health industry.”

The full House Appropriations Committee is expecting to mark up the measure on July 14.