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House continuing resolution passes on HBCU funding
Adams pledges to press for FUTURE Act legislation
Published Wednesday, November 20, 2019 11:36 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., voted for a House resolution to fund the federal government through Dec. 20 although it doesn't include funding for historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions.

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Millions in funding  tor historically black colleges won’t be part of the federal funding package to avoid a government shutdown.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a continuing resolution to fund the government until Dec. 20, but it won’t include the FUTURE Act – officially named the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act – which would authorize $255 million to historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions. The bill stalled in the Senate and lapsed on Sept. 30.

Rep. Alma Adams, a Charlotte Democrat and founder of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, voted for the continuing resolution, but railed against dropping the FUTURE Act she co-sponsored with Rep. Mark Walker, a Greensboro Republican.

Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., are co-sponsors in the upper chamber.

“In lieu of a comprehensive, long-term agreement, I voted yes to ensure that the government services North Carolinians depend on continue without delay,” Adams said in a statement.

“However, I am deeply disappointed that the FUTURE Act, a bill that would restore $255 million in essential mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities  and all Minority-Serving Institutions, a bill that was approved by the House of Representatives with unanimous support, was not included after the objections of Chairman Lamar Alexander and Senate Republicans. Chairman Alexander holds the fates of six million students in his hands, and his consistent opposition to the FUTURE Act is denying them access to careers in emerging STEM fields.”

The FUTURE Act bill stalled in the upper chamber where Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, withheld a vote in committee. Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, wants to attach proposals to the bill, which delayed a vote. He proposes simplifying FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is used to determine eligibility for student financial aid and expanding the number of students and programs eligible for Pell grants.

The legislation would include $85 million for HBCUs, including more than $700,000 for Johnson C. Smith University, an HBCU in Adams’ district.

Adams, who earned two degrees from historically black North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro and a retired Bennett College professor, said the FUTURE Act is critical to the mission of HBCUs and MSIs.  

“I will continue the fight to include FUTURE Act funds in next month's spending package – in the meantime,” she said, “I urge Senate Republicans to stop with the partisan games and allow the FUTURE Act to be immediately considered by the full Senate.”


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