On May 4, 2017, the House released a $1.070 trillion omnibus spending bill, which will fund the government through September 30, 2017. The big highlight for the afterschool community is that Congress increased 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding by $25 million over the FY2016 level, to $1.19 billion—a win for children, families and the country. The proposed increase means doors to quality local afterschool and summer learning programs will stay open for 1.6 million students and families. Additionally, it will make programs available for 25,000 of the 19.4 million students currently waiting for access. This increase was a significant turn of events given that previous FY17 funding proposals would have cut up to 115,000 students from 21st CCLC funded afterschool and summer programs.
This increase is especially noteworthy following President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program in his FY2018 budget preview, which drove friends of afterschool to reach out to Congress with more than 57,000 calls and emails, energized supporters to turn out at town halls in their communities, and prompted more than 1,400 local, state and national organizations to sign a letter in support of Community Learning Centers. Champions of the program on Capitol Hill showed strong support for Community Learning Centers as well, with 81 members of the House coming together across party lines and signing a letter in support of the program. A huge thank you to all who worked so hard in support of Community Learning Center funds.
What comes next?
The House Rules Committee is meeting on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. and the bill could come to the House floor for a vote as early as Wednesday, May 3. The Senate would follow with votes in anticipation of passing the fiscal year 2017 spending bill before the continuing resolution expires this Friday night, May 5.
With both the House and Senate expected to vote on the omnibus spending bill this week, friends of afterschool can reach out to their senators and representative to weigh in on the importance of the bill.