AMENDMENT RESTORES FUNDING FOR LAND-GRANT COLLEGES
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Alabama Seventh District Congressman Artur Davis (D-Birmingham) won approval of an amendment on the House floor today to restore $3.5 million in funding to HBCU land-grant colleges cut by President Bush's proposed FY04 budget.
Schools such as Alabama A&M and Tuskegee University would have met budget cuts of more than $200,000 in federal funds, in addition to reduced revenue in state matching funds, if the cuts had remained. Offsets for the funds will come from the USDA common computing account. The legislative victory is Davis' first since coming to Congress in January.
"I am especially pleased that we were able to push this amendment through on behalf of Alabama HBCU land-grant colleges and their counterparts across the country who share their noble mission," Congressman Davis said. "We have said since discovering this issue several months ago that it was a matter of fundamental fairness, and I am glad that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle viewed it in the same light."
Congressman Davis, a member of the House Budget Committee, first raised the funding discrepancy between 1862 land-grant institutions, which are predominately white, and 1890 land-grant institutions, which are predominately black, earlier this year during the House Budget Committee debate. While the Agriculture appropriations bill cut funding for both sets of schools, the cuts for 1890 institutions were five times greater than the cuts to 1862 institutions.
Funding for 1890 institutions is critical to support agriculture and economic development activities in rural areas across the country, Davis said. The majority of these schools are in the South, which is already suffering disproportionately in the current economic crisis.
Congressman Davis is supported in his efforts by The Council of 1890s Presidents and The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, which has called him "a champion of the 1890s" for his role in moving this issue forward.