Proposed 2005 Budget Sets Priorities On Feb. 4, the White House released President Bush’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2005. It is important to remember that the president’s budget proposal is only a recommendation and is the beginning-not the end-of the federal budget process. Once Congress passes a budget, individual appropriations bills will allocate the ... Policy Analysis
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Policy Analysis  |   March 01, 2004
Proposed 2005 Budget Sets Priorities
Author Notes
  • Reed Franklin, is ASHA’s director of federal and political advocacy.
    Reed Franklin, is ASHA’s director of federal and political advocacy.×
  • Neil Snyder, is ASHA’s director of federal advocacy.
    Neil Snyder, is ASHA’s director of federal advocacy.×
Article Information
Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis   |   March 01, 2004
Proposed 2005 Budget Sets Priorities
The ASHA Leader, March 2004, Vol. 9, 3-17. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.09042004.3
The ASHA Leader, March 2004, Vol. 9, 3-17. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.09042004.3
On Feb. 4, the White House released President Bush’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2005. It is important to remember that the president’s budget proposal is only a recommendation and is the beginning-not the end-of the federal budget process.
Once Congress passes a budget, individual appropriations bills will allocate the money. Any changes in entitlement programs such as Medicare or Social Security will be made in what is called a “budget reconciliation bill,” although it is not necessary for Congress to pass a reconciliation bill every year.
Although the president’s budget proposal does not carry the force of law and is only a recommendation to Congress, it shows where the administration’s priorities lie and what the White House will advocate for throughout the budget process.
It is clear from the president’s budget proposal that the White House strongly favors defense and homeland security over domestic spending. ASHA’s priorities-health care, education, and research-were given low priority overall, although some specific Bush education initiatives did receive increases.
Impact of Deficit
Given the unprecedented size of the federal deficit and the possibility of growing debt, many observers believe there will be a great deal of pressure to cut spending. If defense and homeland security are exempt from cuts, domestic spending will be particularly vulnerable in the near future.
In the health care portion of the budget, the White House significantly increased the projected cost of the Medicare prescription drug legislation passed in late 2003. Last year’s estimate was just under $400 billion over 10 years, and the new estimate is $539 billion.
Many observers believe that this will lead the congressional budget committees to require reductions in other areas of Medicare to control the overall growth of the program. It is too early to know how this factor will affect other areas of health care spending, but key congressional decision-makers are already talking about major changes in the health care area of the budget.
The president’s budget also recommends eliminating funding for the early hearing detection and intervention program.
Education Funding
President Bush proposed a $57.3 billion dollar discretionary budget for the U.S. Department of Education for FY2005, which includes a $1.7 billion or 3% increase over final FY2004 funding. This is the smallest increase for the department in several years, falling short on promised funding for the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA). The proposal also fails to keep the federal government on a path to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) before the end of the decade.
  • Part B. For IDEA, the president has proposed his third $1 billion annual increase for Part B state grants, which would bring the federal share up to 19.7%, less than halfway to promised full funding of 40%. While the president continues to propose the largest increases for Part B of any president, the Congress has appropriated more for Part B each year than requested. Even with the Congress trumping the president’s requested Part B funding, it still would take decades to reach full funding under this method.

  • Part C. President Bush has requested a $22 million increase in FY2005 funding for Part C grants for infants and families. This IDEA grant program funds early intervention services at the state level for children and families ages birth-2. The president requested no new funding for the IDEA preschool grants program for FY2005, citing the ability of states to tap in to their Part B grant monies to fund additional services for preschool children ages 3–5.

  • Part D. The president failed to request any new funding for the IDEA Part D personnel preparation grant program for FY2005. This program has suffered from chronic under-funding combined with two years of across-the-board cuts. Factoring in inflation, personnel preparation grants will not be able to keep pace with the demand for qualified special education personnel, including speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Further, since this is the only federal program specifically targeted at growing the number of special education faculty, the diminished capacity will result in fewer grants for faculty who provide critical research and help train future cadres of special education personnel.

  • Special education research. Finally, funding for special education research was moved out of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) to the newly established Institute of Education Sciences. Some fear that this consolidation of U.S. Department of Education research dollars under one entity will dilute the research focus that OSERS currently enjoys under its current structure.

  • No Child Left Behind. Regarding funding for NCLBA programs, President Bush requested a $1 billion increase over FY2004 for Title I grants. With congressional approval, this would bring funding for implementing NCLBA to $13.3 billion for FY2005. Reading First and Early Reading First, two major initiatives of the Bush administration, would receive funding increases for FY2005 under this budget. Reading First grants provide funding to help school districts and schools provide professional development in reading instruction, adopt and use diagnostic reading assessments for students in grades K-3, implement scientifically validated reading curricula, and provide reading interventions for young readers. Early Reading First complements this program by providing grants targeting children from birth-5 with enhanced verbal skills, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and pre-reading skills. The president has proposed a $138.6 million increase for these programs for FY2005. Finally, the president has proposed a new program, Striving Readers, for FY2005. The president has requested $100 million for Striving Readers, which would help improve the skills of secondary school students who are reading below grade level.

As the federal budget makes its way through the legislative process, ASHA will advocate for appropriate levels of funding for programs of importance to ASHA members and the patients and students they serve. Visit http://takeaction.asha.org for further information on how you can help with federal advocacy.
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March 2004
Volume 9, Issue 4