DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006
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Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I rise today as a proud cosponsor of the Byrd amendment. This amendment would increase funding for title I by $5 billion. The No Child Left Behind Act authorized $22.7 billion in fiscal year 2006 for title I, which serves low-income, disadvantaged students and schools across the Nation. Unfortunately, this bill falls $9.9 billion short. This modest $5 billion increase is only half of the difference between the authorized amount in NCLB and the Senate bill level.
I strongly believe that one of the Federal Government's primary roles is to improve education for disadvantaged students. Without adequate funding, we will put States, school districts, teachers and ultimately, students, at an even greater disadvantage as many will be unable to meet the requirements in the new law and it will be the students who will suffer. I hope
my colleagues will support this important amendment.
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Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the Clinton amendment. This amendment would fully fund IDEA for this year by adding $4 billion, the difference between the amount appropriated in the Senate bill and this year's authorization level. As a proud co-sponsor, I am hopeful the Senate will act today to set IDEA on a path toward full funding.
Despite substantial increases in IDEA funding over the past several years, the Federal Government has not lived up to its commitment to pay for 40 percent of the costs of special education. This is one of the top concerns of educators in Wisconsin. As a result of this funding shortfall, local school districts continue to devote a large part of their budgets toward special education, which makes it more difficult for them to adequately fund other vital education programs. This problem has only gotten worse as financially strapped States and local governments are cutting funding for education in order to balance their budgets. This amendment would provide much needed relief. My home State of Wisconsin would benefit from an additional $70 million in special education funds. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, subsequently making good on our commitment to special education students and their teachers.