In a 2012 budget blueprint that administration officials portrayed as austere and Republicans derided as profligate, US President Obama kept his promise to privilege spending on education and research — though not without some potential pain for programmes important to colleges and students.
“Education is an investment that we need to win the future — just like innovation is an investment that we need to win the future; just like infrastructure is an investment that we need to win the future,” the president said in unveiling the budget at a Baltimore math and science school. “And to make sure that we can afford these investments, we’re going to have to get serious about cutting back on those things that would be nice to have but we can do without.”
Unlike House Republican leaders, who in their first crack at a Tea Party-friendly federal budget plan cut disproportionately from health, education and labour programs, President Obama’s 2012 budget blueprint generally shields what he calls “investments” in education, research and a few other key areas. The rest of his budget however begins a five-year drive to freeze most federal spending and reduce the deficit. The Education Department’s overall budget would grow by 4.3 percent in 2012 under the president’s budget.
In many of its priorities and emphases, the president’s proposed budget for 2012 stood in stark contrast to legislation put forward by House Republicans on Friday to fund the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends in September. While the Republican Party measure would slash grants, end funding for several other student aid programs, and slice billions of dollars from agencies that support academic research, the Obama budget for 2012 keeps those and other programs largely intact.
From Doug Lederman at Inside Higher Ed