Congress passes federal spending bill that increases funding for eduction

On Friday, the Congress passed, and the President signed, a federal spending bill for 2016. Congress agreed earlier this fall to postpone the mindless automatic spending cuts they called “sequestration” that would have cut many children’s programs including Head Start. In this year’s spending bill, Congress increased funding for many key programs. Highlights include:

• Head Start funding increased by $570 million

• Child care funding increased by $326 million

• Federal support for low-income K-12 school districts increased by $500 million

• Special education funding increased by $400 million

• Preschool funding continued at $250 million

The bill represents a good first step to ending the austerity fever that led Congress to disinvest in our children’s future by several billion dollars in recent years<>. We hope Congress will build on these new investments in future years.

In addition to increased investments in children, Congress and the President agreed to permanently extend tax breaks to working poor families. As a result, a mother working full time at the minimum wage will have certainty that her $1,725 Child Tax Credit will not disappear. While we are concerned about the continuation of trillions of dollars in tax breaks for large corporations, we are relieved to see that Congress did not ignore families struggling to get by.