Legislative Updates

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Legislative Updates

March 2012 -President Obama released his FY2013 budget proposal in February and funding was not included for the new national literacy grant competition nor for RIF.  Now, as Congress begins to work on the FY2013 budget, we are urging lawmakers to reinstate funding for the national literacy grant competition.  ACT NOW – tell Congress to support funding for children’s literacy in the FY2013 budget!

January 2012 - In light of the recent congressional action to fund a new competitive grant program for children’s literacy, we hope you’ll join us in sending a big ‘Thank You’ to Congress! We are still closely monitoring developments related to federal funding and are eagerly anticipating the Department of Education's grant competition guidance. 

December 16, 2011- Congress Restores Funding for Literacy Programs

November 2011 - FY2012 Budget and ESEA Move Forward
The main federal law affecting K-12 education is finally back on track to be reauthorized after several years of delay. By a 15-7 vote, the Senate education committee recently approved a bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), last reauthorized by Congress in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The bill could possibly be brought to the full Senate for vote before Christmas. Of course, there are many more steps to be taken to get a final bill approved by both houses of Congress for the President's signature--a process that will likely be complicated by Presidential election politics.

RIF's government relations team has been working with key Senators on the education committee to include funding opportunities that RIF could access. We are pleased to report that a provision is currently included in the Senate bill that would create a grant competition for Programs of National Significance for which RIF would be able to compete.

The federal government's 2012 Fiscal Year began on October 1, and Congress has yet to wrap up work on its spending measures for the new fiscal year. Operating under a stopgap spending bill until November 18th, Congress is working to move forward the government's annual appropriations measures, but will likely need to pass another stopgap bill to allow further time to finalize these bills. Within the Senate’s FY12 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, language has been included to create a national literacy grant competition for which RIF would be eligible to compete. Again, this is the first step in a long process ahead for the appropriations measures in the context of a difficult budget year, and we continue to track this provision.

Finally, as part of RIF's overall government relations strategy,we are pursuing competitive funding opportunities within various federal agency budgets, accessible to both the RIF national office AND local RIF affiliates. You will hear from us regarding these funding opportunities as information becomes available.

April 15, 2011 - FY2011 Budget Finalized, RIF Excluded
Congress has finally wrapped up its work on the FY2011 budget, clearing a spending deal for the President’s signature yesterday. This Continuing Resolution (CR) will fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year (September 30, 2011). As anticipated, funding for RIF was unfortunately not reinstated in this final FY2011 CR. RIF is continuing its outreach to House and Senate leadership as well as the Administration to underscore the critical impact the loss of the federal contract will have on children and families nationwide.

March 3, 2011- Congress and President Obama Cut Reading Is Fundamental America’s Largest Children’s Literacy Program serving over 4 Million children

February 14, 2011—Proposed House Bill Terminates RIF's Services
The House Appropriations Committee released their FY11 Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill and it includes approximately $100 billion in program cuts and terminations. Unfortunately, RIF and its nationwide services was one of the programs listed for termination in this proposal. RIF supporters need to send a message to all of their members of Congress today asking them to support RIF in the FY11 CR. Loss of federal funding for RIF would mean 4.4 million of the nation's most vulnerable children would no longer receive free books to call their own. Visit the RIF Action Center and send a message NOW!

February 8, 2011—House Proposes to Reduce Current Fiscal Year Funding
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education continues to finalize the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill. House leadership has released an overall proposal that intends to reduce the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, ending on September 30, 2011, by cutting $32 billion from current spending levels. It is vital for RIF supporters to relay to Congress the impact of these cuts on RIF programs and the significance of continued federal support for RIF.

January 6, 2011—A New Congress Analyzes FY11 Continuing Resolution
The 112th Congress is sworn in and begins analyzing the FY11 continuing resolution that expires on March 4, 2011, as well as crafting a blueprint for the FY12 appropriations bill. In the coming weeks, RIF will continue reaching out to members of the appropriations subcommittee encouraging them to include RIF in both budgets.

December 22, 2010—House and Senate Approve Funding Through March 4
The House and Senate have approved a continuing resolution for the FY11 budget that will fund the federal government through March 4, 2011. This temporary funding measure includes level funding for RIF; however, the final appropriation will be negotiated when the new Congress convenes in January.

December 17, 2010—Congress to Vote on Funding in New Year
The Senate passes a short-term resolution—Congress will take up the FY11 budget in the new year. After days of deliberating, the Senate decided to pass a short-term resolution to postpone voting on the FY11 Omnibus bill, which includes funding for RIF, until the new Congress convenes in February or March.

December 15, 2010—Vote for RIF’s Funding Moves Back to the Senate
The fight for RIF’s funding moves back to the U.S. Senate. Senators will vote on the FY11 budget bill called the Omnibus, which does include funding for Reading Is Fundamental. It is critical that the Senate pass the Omnibus in order for RIF to secure its funding and continue serving the 4.4 million children in our programs.

December 6, 2010—Vote for RIF Funding in the U.S. House
Reading Is Fundamental is encountering another funding hurdle with Congress as the House of Representatives looks to vote on the 2011 budget. Members of the House wish to pass a final budget before the holiday recess, and we want to remind them to include RIF’s grant in the bill. Keep in mind that without this grant, RIF will no longer be able to serve the 4.4 million children currently receiving free books and other literacy materials.

November 30, 2010—Senate Votes Against Banning Earmarks
The Senate voted “NO” on an amendment to ban domestic earmarks in the FY11, FY12, and FY13 budget cycle. This is great news! Although RIF is an authorized program and not an earmark, this moratorium would have eliminated RIF’s federal funding. We therefore certainly celebrate this new development—but the fight to secure RIF’s funding continues.

July 27, 2010—Progress Made in Approving RIF’s Funding
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) approved $24.8 million in funding for Reading Is Fundamental for FY2011! Recently, the House LHHS also approved $24.8 million for RIF. These bills must still be approved by the full Appropriations Committees in the months ahead. This is a great step in the funding process! Thank you to everyone who sent emails and letters or made phone calls and visits to their members of Congress. Each of your efforts helped make this happen—proof that your voice matters!

RIF will continue to monitor the appropriations process and keep you informed as new developments unfold. Be sure to check back for updates in the coming weeks.

Legislative Updates