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Letter to the Senate Opposing Two Amendments to be Offered About the Debt Ceiling Resolution

January 26, 2010


Dear Senator:

The National Education Association, representing 3.2 million educators across the country, urges you to VOTE NO on two amendments to be offered today to H.J. Res. 45, one to be offered by Senator Coburn (R-OK), and one to be offered by Senators Sessions (R-AL) and McCaskill (D-MO).  These amendments would have a significant negative impact on education funding.  Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress. 

The Coburn amendment would rescind $120 billion in enacted funding; including slashing $3.2 billion from education. The amendment targets several important education programs including student financial aid, veteran’s education benefits, early childhood education, and programs for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.  Huge state budget gaps are forcing significant cuts in state education funding.  Cutting federal education dollars will exacerbate the situation, undermining efforts to close achievement gaps, maximize student achievement, increase college access and completion rates, and improve our nation’s competitiveness in the global economy.

The Sessions/McCaskill amendment would impose caps on total discretionary funding that are equal to the aggregate spending levels in the fiscal 2010 budget resolution.  In so doing, it would essentially tie the Budget Committee’s hands in setting allocations over the next several years. 

Both the Coburn and Sessions/McCaskill amendments would undermine efforts to make strategic investments in education that will help stimulate economic recovery.   Investing in programs that help students succeed in school and prepare for the workforce results in higher levels of earnings for individuals and higher tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments.  Studies show that the economic benefits of education investments will more than recoup the cost of those investments. 

Again, we urge your opposition to these two amendments.


Kim Anderson 
Director of Government Relations