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NEA Executive Director: Boehner bill leaves America’s children behind

Students lose in high-stakes game of political posturing


WASHINGTON - July 29, 2011 -

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted today on House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Boehner (R-Ohio), could potentially lead to a downgrading of the AAA credit rating of the United States.

The vote (218– 210) was largely along party lines with no Democrats voting in favor of the controversial bill.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has indicated the bill will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate and President Barack Obama has indicated he would veto the measure.  The wrangling to get this vote to the floor was an exercise more in political posturing than about bringing about a resolution to this financial dilemma that has dampened economic markets and sparked economic uncertainty across the nation and in international markets.

John I. Wilson, executive director of the National Education Association, issued the following statement in response to the House vote:

“Once again, Congress has put millionaires and billionaires before students and working families.  Congressional Republicans had the opportunity to do the right thing by putting partisan politics aside to find a solution that moves this country toward full recovery.  Rather than force Wall Street tycoons and the wealthiest one percent of Americans to pay their fair share, Congress wants to balance the budget on the backs of those least able to afford additional sacrifice. 

“Instead of mortgaging our students’ futures by cutting short their opportunities, our elected leaders should be finding ways to scale back tax breaks for millionaires and tax subsidies for corporations. The wealthiest one percent of Americans receives a quarter of all the income.  Voters did not elect policymakers to put politics ahead of the needs of our students, the elderly and working families. 

“As squabbling on Capitol Hill continues, unemployment remains unacceptably high, and there is a dire need to put people back to work. Relying solely on dramatic spending cuts will jeopardize the health, economic security, and education of millions of Americans. The misguided approach of some elected leaders will fail to get the economy back on track, and place an even heavier burden on states that are already struggling to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.

“The rhetoric and posturing must stop. We want a balanced, common-sense approach to fix the debt ceiling—approaches that protect children, seniors, and rejects further burdening already struggling working families.”

To learn how the debt ceiling crisis will affect educators and their families, visit EducationVotes.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2  million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT:  NEA Public Relations
(202) 822-7823, newsdeadline@nea.org