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Heavy Lifting on the Hill Earns Big Results

NEA members and lobbyists score major victories for legislative program

July 5, 2010

By Cynthia McCabe

Working hand-in-hand with NEA members from across the country, lobbyists for the Association won significant legislative victories on funding for education jobs, health care, higher education, and state affiliate pension funding.

Most recently, the win column got a bold checkmark with the U.S. House’s passage of $10 billion in funding that saves an estimated 138,000 education jobs. An intensive campaign involving nearly every NEA department, state affiliate and tens of thousands of members was crucial to the success.

Laid-off educators from North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma and California came to Washington, D.C., to lobby their members of Congress. Every member they met with voted for the jobs bill. NEA members made more than 63,000 phone calls, wrote 42,000 postcards and sent more than 210,000 emails to Congress supporting the package.

Other victories included:

  • Health insurance for 32 million previously uninsured children and adults.
  • Increased Pell Grants to help students afford higher education.
  • $2 billion for community colleges to support their invaluable role in economic recovery.
  • $4 billion for school construction – to ensure safe, modern learning environments.
  • Private pension funding fixes that will save our affiliates millions of dollars and help prevent staff layoffs and cuts in services to our members. 

The work continues. In the upcoming months, NEA member activism and lobbying will focus on getting the education jobs bill through the U.S. Senate as well as pushing its positive agenda for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“Our lobbyists are working very hard to make sure that all members of Congress understand our deep concerns with No Child Left Behind and the Administration’s proposed reauthorization blueprint, and our proactive ESEA agenda,” Linda Reames, chair of the Standing Committee on Legislation, told RA delegates at a session earlier this week on the Association’s legislative program.

The ESEA campaign includes lobbying, policy analysis, communications, outreach to partner groups, member and affiliate engagement, political work, and research.

NEA lobbyists also continue to fight for repeal of unfair Social Security offsets, including working with the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility to protect Social Security benefits and repeal of the offsets. 


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