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Federal Legislative Update June 2010

June 23, 2010
June 18, 2010

June 11, 2010

June 4, 2010

News from Capitol Hill. . .

6/23/10

URGENT ALERT: CONGRESS TO VOTE ON FUNDING TO SAVE EDUCATOR JOBS!!


The House of Representatives is expected to vote very soon on funding to save educator jobs. We need your help TODAY to make sure this urgent relief passes.

Call your Representative today, by dialing 1-866-608-6355. You will hear talking points and will be connected to the United States Capitol Switchboard – ask for your House Member. Tell him/her to VOTE YES on funding to save educator jobs.

You can also e-mail your Members of Congress and urge a YES vote for education jobs funding.

The need is great:

  • We are facing an education emergency – a catastrophe that is growing worse by the day and threatening our children’s, and our nation’s, future.
  • More than 80 percent of school districts across the country have had to, or expect to, layoff educators, leading to crowded classrooms and dramatic cuts to essential programs. In some places, the school day and school week are being shortened, reducing learning time.

But YOU can make a difference. Call Congress today.

 

News from Capitol Hill. . .

6/18/10

In this issue:

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO SAVE YOUR JOB OR YOUR COLLEAGUES’ JOBS!  MAKE CONGRESS LISTEN!!

I have been teaching at my school for 18 years.  My school is in a poor district that has not passed a levy for new money in 15 years.  Professional development was cut by 65% and we also face material budget cuts.  A ban on buying new text books is in effect for the next 10 years, and some departments are getting short of books.  A levy that could pass this fall will cut all AP and psychology classes, the vocational electives (industrial tech classes, Family and Consumer Science, and career classes), agricultural education, and an award-winning ROTC program.  Our school is 10-25% special education, and the special education teachers worry about what their students will take for classes. More students will be in study hall, and the students who do better with hands-on classes are being left behind.  All of our jobs could be cut this summer.  – Karin from Ohio

The fight continues to pass an education jobs fund that will save hundreds of thousands of educator jobs and ensure the investments necessary to help all students succeed.  The next few weeks before Congress adjourns for July 4th are absolutely critical if we are to win this fight.  House Appropriations Chairman, and strong public education advocate, Dave Obey (D-WI) remains deeply committed to passing this essential funding.  But, others in Congress still need convincing – and you are the best messengers

TAKE ACTION TODAY!  Keep the e-mails and calls coming!  Ask colleagues, friends, and family to join this fight:

  • Continue to e-mail your Members of Congress to support funding to save education jobs in the emergency funding bill (known as the “emergency supplemental” funding bill).  Through June 23, e-mail Congress via the link provided here and you will be automatically entered into a drawing to win an iPod Nano!  Full contest rules are available here.

  • You can still call 1-866-608-6355 to contact your Representative in Congress.  You will hear talking points and will be connected to the United States Capitol Switchboard – ask for your House Member.  Tell your Representative that public education faces a budget catastrophe and that he/she should support including investments to save education jobs in the emergency supplemental funding bill.

  • Share your story.  Is your school seeing increased class sizes?  Shorter school weeks?  Programs cut or eliminated?  Tell us what is happening in your school and how it will impact your students

SPEAK UP and Keep Up on the Latest News -- Visit Education Votes, where you will find television and radio ads, print ads, audio news releases, and many other tools to help you spread the word.  

URGE THE SENATE TO PASS LEGISLATION TO PREVENT MORE CUTS TO EDUCATION, EXTEND THE EDUCATOR TAX DEDUCTION AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, AND PROVIDE URGENT PENSION RELIEF

This week, the Senate failed to get the needed votes to move forward on tax extenders legislation (H.R. 4213) that includes a number of provisions of great importance to educators.  As negotiators work on a scaled-back package that should garner more support, we need to keep the pressure on.  The American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes, and Preventing Outsourcing Act will:

  • Extend aid to states to help cover Medicaid costs – to take pressure off state budgets and prevent cuts to education and other important priorities.  Even though the House stripped this very important funding from its bill, the money is still in the Senate package at this time.  Many states have prepared next year’s budgets counting on this funding.  If it doesn’t pass, states will have to cut education and other important programs even further.
     
  • Provide relief for private pension plan sponsors to help deal with the dramatic losses incurred during the market crashes of 2008 and 2009.

  • Extend the tax deduction for educators’ out-of-pocket classroom supply expenses.  This deduction has expired and must be extended in order to be available when educators file their taxes next year.

  • Extend unemployment benefits until the end of 2010 – to help struggling families make ends meet and address the great instability in many of our students’ lives caused by family financial crises. 

The tax extenders bill will help fund schools, ease financial burdens for educators buying school supplies for students, and help students' families survive this economic crisis.  We owe it to our students to protect them as much as possible from this financial crisis.

Contact your Members of Congress Today!  Urge your Senators to support the tax extenders bill (H.R. 4213).   

REMINDER: NATIONAL FISCAL COMMISSION SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENTS

Hundreds of thousands of educators and other public employees continue to be penalized by unfair Social Security offsets –the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.  NEA has been waging an aggressive campaign to repeal these unfair laws. 

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama, has been charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.  Entitlement programs such as Social Security fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction.  The Commission will make recommendations to Congress and the President by December 1, 2010. 

The Commission will hold a public forum on June 30 and is also soliciting comments via e-mail.  E-mail the Commission at commission@fc.eop.govTell them:

  • Social Security Social Security is the cornerstone of the social safety net for America’s retired workers.
  • The program and its benefits must be protected. 
  • The Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision unfairly reduce or eliminate the EARNED Social Security benefits of hundreds of thousands of dedicated public servants.
  • [Share with the Commission your story about how the offsets have impacted you, or will impact you, when you retire]
  • Commission members should call for repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.

News from Capitol Hill. . .

    6/11/10

    In this issue:

    WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO SAVE YOUR JOB OR YOUR COLLEAGUES’ JOBS?  MAKE CONGRESS LISTEN!!

    Last year, our district closed Kaleva Elementary and this year we closed Wellston Elementary.  Now, Brethren Elementary, Middle, and High School are in the same building.  With nearly 700 K-12 students, class sizes have increased to the point that kids almost need to sit on each others’ laps.  Due to our continuing budget crisis, we will not offer elementary music, band, art, and physical education during the next school year.  Five teachers were laid off along with three retirements, a 26% reduction in classroom teachers.  If current trends continue — downsizing teachers and programs, and increasing class size — our school district may close its doors in the near future.  – William from Michigan

    Congress returned to Washington, DC this week.  We continue our fight to pass an education jobs fund that will save hundreds of thousands of educator jobs and ensure the investments necessary to help all students succeed.  House Appropriations Chairman, and strong public education advocate, Dave Obey (D-WI) remains deeply committed to passing this essential funding.  But, others in Congress need convincing – and you are the best messengers

    TAKE ACTION TODAY!  Keep the e-mails and calls coming!  Ask colleagues, friends, and family to join this fight:

    • Continue to e-mail your Members of Congress to support funding to save education jobs in the emergency funding bill (known as the “emergency supplemental” funding bill).  
    • You can still call 1-866-608-6355 to contact your Representative in Congress.  You will hear talking points and will be connected to the United States Capitol Switchboard – ask for your House Member.  Tell your Representative that public education faces a budget catastrophe and that he/she should support including investments to save education jobs in the emergency supplemental funding bill.
    • Share your story.  Is your school seeing increased class sizes?  Shorter school weeks?  Programs cut or eliminated?  Tell us what is happening in your school and how it will impact your students 

    SPEAK UP and Keep Up on the Latest News -- Visit Education Votes, where you will find television and radio ads, print ads, audio news releases, and many other tools to help you spread the word.   

    URGE THE SENATE TO PASS LEGISLATION TO PREVENT MORE CUTS TO EDUCATION, EXTEND THE EDUCATOR TAX DEDUCTION AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, AND PROVIDE URGENT PENSION RELIEF

    Before the Memorial Day recess, the House passed “tax extenders” legislation (H.R. 4213) that includes a number of provisions of great importance to educators.  The Senate is expected to vote the week of June 14.  Your help is needed to garner the 60 Senate votes that will be needed to pass it.  The American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes, and Preventing Outsourcing Act will:

    • Extend aid to states to help cover Medicaid costs – to take pressure off state budgets and prevent cuts to education and other important priorities.  Even though the House stripped this very important funding from its bill, the money is in the Senate package.  Many states have prepared next year’s budgets counting on this funding.  If it doesn’t pass, states will have to cut education and other important programs even further. 

    • Provide relief for private pension plan sponsors to help deal with the dramatic losses incurred during the market crashes of 2008 and 2009.

    • Extend the tax deduction for educators’ out-of-pocket classroom supply expenses.  This deduction has expired and must be extended in order to be available when educators file their taxes next year.  

    • Extend unemployment benefits until the end of 2010 – to help struggling families make ends meet and address the great instability in many of our students’ lives caused by family financial crises. 

    The tax extenders bill will help fund schools, ease financial burdens for educators buying school supplies for students, and help students' families survive this economic crisis.  We owe it to our students to protect them as much as possible from this financial crisis.

    Contact your Members of Congress Today!  Urge your Senators to support the tax extenders bill (H.R. 4213).   

    GPO/WEP ALERT: NATIONAL FISCAL COMMISSION SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENTS

    Hundreds of thousands of educators and other public employees continue to be penalized by unfair Social Security offsets –the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.  NEA has been waging an aggressive campaign to repeal these unfair laws. 

    The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama, has been charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.  Entitlement programs such as Social Security fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction.  The Commission will make recommendations to Congress and the President by December 1, 2010. 

    The Commission will hold a public forum on June 30 and is also soliciting comments via e-mail.  E-mail the Commission at commission@fc.eop.govTell them that Social Security Social Security is the cornerstone of the social safety net for America’s retired workers and that the program and its benefits must be protected.  Share with the Commission your story about how the offsets have impacted you, or will impact you, when you retire.  Urge Commission members to call for repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.

    6/4/10

    TELL CONGRESS THAT SAVING EDUCATOR JOBS IS AN INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE

    I work in a rural school district where 60+ layoffs have occurred in the last two academic years. Our children won’t have an opportunity to maximize their potential unless this insanity stops. Children are our future doctors, accountants, brick layers, scientists, auto mechanics, and social workers. The global economy requires that we compete; doing so requires dedication to the task. Dedicated teachers and counselors and paraprofessionals make a difference in the lives of children every day.  Don’t allow even one to child suffer because of this economic downturn! – Louise in Arizona

    As Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess June 8, the fight will continue to pass an education jobs fund that will save hundreds of thousands of educator jobs and ensure the investments necessary to help all students succeed. 

    While a planned “mark-up” of an emergency funding bill including the education jobs funding was postponed prior to the congressional recess, House Appropriations Chairman, and strong public education advocate, Dave Obey (D-WI) is committed to passing this essential funding.  The debate on the emergency funding bill will take place in the next few weeks – so now is the time to get involved!

    We face an uphill battle in the midst of a larger political battle over spending and deficits.   We need to make sure Congress understands that investing in education is good for the economy and will reduce costs later on by ensuring a well-educated, competitive workforce.  In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the proposed education jobs fund will reduce unemployment, generate additional tax revenue, and reduce safety net spending – all of which will reduce the ultimate cost of the bill by more than half. 

    TAKE ACTION TODAY! Keep the calls and e-mails coming!  Ask colleagues, friends, and family to join this fight:

    • You can still call 1-866-608-6355 to contact your Representative in Congress.  You will hear talking points and will be connected to the United States Capitol Switchboard – ask for your House Member.  Tell your Representative that public education faces a budget catastrophe and that he/she should support including investments to save education jobs in the emergency funding bill (known as the “emergency supplemental” funding bill).
    • Share your story.  Is your school seeing increased class sizes?  Shorter school weeks?  Programs cut or eliminated? Tell us what is happening in your school and how it will impact your students 

    SPEAK UP and Keep Up on the Latest News:

    NEW!  Watch our new slideshow featuring educators who have been laid off.

    NEW!   Check out NEA’s TV commercials calling for an education jobs package, including our newest ads highlighting education support professionals and higher education faculty

    NEW!   Watch NEA Government Relations Director, Kim Anderson, school FOX News anchor Neil Cavuto on the need for a jobs bill and the sacrifices educators make every day for their students and communities. 

    NEW!    See our Jobs “Letter to the Editor” template and click here to submit your letter quickly and easily to local and national news sources through our online interface.

    NEW!   Print our “Speak Up” poster and post it at your school or workplace.

    Visit Education Votes, where you will find more tools to help you spread the word — television and radio ads, print ads, and audio news releases. 

    Become a “fan” of Speak up for Education and Kids on Facebook -- a community of educators and concerned citizens – now more than 20,000 strong – who believe our nation has a responsibility to invest in education and avoid the short-sighted cuts that could deprive our students of the bright futures they deserve.

    Read what your colleagues across the country are saying about layoffs in their schools. 

    GPO/WEP ALERT: NATIONAL FISCAL COMMISSION SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENTS

    Hundreds of thousands of educators and other public employees continue to be penalized by unfair Social Security offsets –the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.   NEA has been waging an aggressive campaign to repeal these unfair laws. 

    The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama, has been charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.   Entitlement programs such as Social Security fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction.  The Commission will make recommendations to Congress and the President by December 1, 2010. 

    The Commission will hold a public forum on June 30 and is also soliciting comments via e-mail.  E-mail the Commission at commission@fc.eop.govTell them that Social Security Social Security is the cornerstone of the social safety net for America’s retired workers and that the program and its benefits must be protected.  Share with the Commission your story about how the offsets have impacted you, or will impact you, when you retire.  Urge Commission members to call for repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.