Democrats Would Add Pell Funds to War Spending Bill

July 1, 2010

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives on Wednesday proposed folding money for Pell Grants into a Senate-passed spending bill aimed at providing emergency appropriations for military aid and disaster relief. The amendment by Rep. Dave Obey, who heads the House Appropriations Committee, would include $4.9 billion designed to close most of a $5.7 billion shortfall in the Pell Grant Program and another $10 billion to help states avoid layoffs of elementary and secondary school teachers. While the idea is likely to face opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats opposed to adding funds for domestic priorities to legislation that is supposed to be limited to other purposes, House leaders have sought to blunt that criticism by offsetting the proposed new spending by redistributing money from elsewhere in the bill. College leaders are desperately hoping Congress finds some way to clear the Pell shortfall, since a failure to do so could result in a sizable cut (of as much as $800) in the size of the maximum Pell Grant next year.

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