College lobbyists and union officials are hoping that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives will come through with emergency funds to fend off budget cuts and to close a multi-billion shortfall in the Pell Grant Program, now that Senate leaders have made clear that they won't back such efforts in their own supplemental spending bill. Reuters reported that Sen. Tom Harkin had agreed to abandon an effort to add $23 billion to the Senate legislation to help states avoid layoffs of teachers and college instructors, saying he had been unable to solicit necessary Republican support for the amendment. The Hill reported that House Democrats will include in their version of the emergency spending bill not only that money, but also $5.7 billion to plug a projected shortfall in the Pell Grant Program for the 2011 fiscal year. The supplemental spending legislation is supposed to fund short-term defense needs and emergencies such as weather-related catastrophes, and if the education-related spending stays in the House bill over likely objections from budget hawks, it would need to be reconciled with a Senate bill that lacks the funds.
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