Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, points to this week’s markup by her Appropriations subcommitee of the $153.7 billion Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill as a triumph for progressives — and for her, in particular.
This is Lee’s first year on the powerful purse-strings panel — and in the majority, for that matter — and so she has had more of a say than ever before on how federal tax dollars are spent. She’s hailing the panel’s increases in funds for education, job training and violence prevention — which she said she championed — as “an investment in our future, and I am particularly proud of our successful efforts to increase funds for programs that keep kids safe and give them real alternatives to violence.”
For example, she notes, the bill provides $61.7 billion for education — $4.2 billion (7.4 %) above the current budget year — including:
The committee also added $200 million (200 %) above the president’s 2008 proposal for safe and drug-free schools; $125 million (12.7 %) for after-school centers; $100 million (11.9 %) for youth job training; $98 million (6.3 %) for Jobcorps; and $11.4 million (4.8 %) for historically black colleges, among other things. It also proposed almost $49 million for mentoring programs and $61.5 million for school counselors, where the president had proposed spending nothing.
Remember, though — this is only the subcommittee’s markup. This bill has yet to pass the House, be reconciled with the Senate’s plan, and be signed by the president.