Update: Jan. 22, 2024: President Joe Biden signed the legislation for the continuing resolution on Friday.
Congress has approved a continuing resolution that delays a decision until March 8 about the final fiscal year 2024 budget for the U.S. Department of Education and several other agencies. The measure is awaiting President Joe Biden's signature.
The House cleared the continuing resolution in a bipartisan 314-108 vote Thursday. Earlier in the day, the Senate passed it 77-18. Education Department FY 2023 spending levels had previously been extended to Feb. 2 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
"Passing this measure will allow us the time we need to hammer out those funding bills for fiscal year ‘24 — after many months of needless delays," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, on the Senate floor Thursday. "I think we all want this to be a drama-free and reliable process."
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Lousiana, said, in a Jan. 14 statement, "Because the completion deadlines are upon us, a short continuing resolution is required to complete what House Republicans are working hard to achieve: an end to governance by omnibus, meaningful policy wins, and better stewardship of American tax dollars.”
But annual federal agency appropriations were actually first due months ago before the federal fiscal year began. While federal funding stopgap measures don't typically affect the day-to-day operations in school districts, prolonged decisions for FY 24 funding levels can make it challenging for districts' own budget planning process, according to education financial experts.
For this year in particular, funding uncertainty may cause more angst as education leaders plan for the last year of federal COVID-19 emergency spending.