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Rep. Engel Leads the Effort to Support IDEA Funding in Congress

Rep. Engel Leads the Effort to Support IDEA Funding in Congress

Washington, D.C.-Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is co-leading the effort to support significant funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) during the Fiscal year 2016 budget negotiations.

Passed by Congress in 1975, IDEA was enacted to ensure all students with disabilities receive a free,  high quality public education. The federal government committed to paying 40 percent of the average expenditure for each student receiving IDEA services, but has consistently fell short of that commitment, with appropriations never reaching above 18.5 percent. In response to the continued lack of appropriate funding, Congressman Engel coauthored a bipartisan letter to House Appropriators, signed by over 120 of his House colleagues, calling for an increase to IDEA funding that would “put us on the path to full federal funding within ten years.”

“Forty years ago, we made a commitment to our students with special needs that we have not kept, and it’s time for us to fix that broken promise,” Congressman Engel said. “The comprehensive assessment and support services authorized by IDEA have helped close the academic achievement gap for millions of children, but we are still short-changing these students by not properly funding the initiative. Everyone deserves a quality education, especially those who need a little extra help.

“That is why Congressmen Huffman, Van Hollen, McKinley, Walz, Gibson, Reichert, Hanna and I have led this request, supported by over 120 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, for a significant increase in federal funding for IDEA in FY 2016 and full funding within ten years. It is my hope that with the united support of Democrats and Republicans, we will be able to right this wrong and significantly increase funding for IDEA in 2016 and beyond.”