House Considers Appropriations Bills of Importance to Education Researchers; Amendment to Defund IES Defeated
House Considers Appropriations Bills of Importance to Education Researchers; Amendment to Defund IES Defeated

November 2023

Throughout November, the full House of Representatives considered two FY 2024 appropriations bills of importance to education researchers: H.R. 5894, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) legislation; and H.R. 5893, the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) legislation. As part of full floor consideration of the H.R. 5894, which provides funding for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), members voted on an amendment offered by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) to strike all FY 2024 funding of $707 million in the bill for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The amendment failed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 118–316 vote.

Prior to the amendment vote on November 14, AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine issued a statement to all House offices urging them to reject the amendment.

“Eliminating IES funding would have a devastating impact on the country’s ability to gather and report objective data on key education indicators,” said Levine. “For example, it would have an adverse impact on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, as we know it.”

Levine continued, “NAEP would only be one casualty of this proposed amendment. IES funds research in key national priority areas that have bipartisan support, including career and technical education, special education, and STEM teaching and learning. . . . Zero funding for IES would not only halt progress in advancing important research findings but disrupt the very research designs that contribute to evidence-based practice.”

Despite votes on over 100 amendments, the House did not hold a vote on the overall LHHS bill prior to recessing for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 15. In addition, the House failed to advance a rule on a 198-225 vote that would have allowed for the consideration of amendments and a vote on the House CJS bill. The CJS bill would provide essentially flat funding for the National Science Foundation and would cut funding for the NSF’s STEM Education Directorate to 2022 levels, a decrease of 19.3 percent. Part of this percentage is due to a proposed defunding of the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program.

In July, the LHHS and CJS subcommittees advanced their respective bills, but the bills were not marked up by the full committee. Neither bill received a markup hearing by the full House Appropriations Committee.

The full Senate has not yet considered its versions of the CJS and LHHS bills, which the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced with a bipartisan consensus in July.

Before its Thanksgiving recess, Congress also advanced a continuing resolution to extend FY 2023 funding levels in two tiers, with four appropriations bills expiring January 19, and the other bills—which include CJS and LHHS—expiring February 2. The prior continuing resolution had government funding set to expire on November 17.