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Super Committee throws in towel on debt-reduction goals

Impasse to trigger further cuts to education


WASHINGTON - November 21, 2011 -

The Congressional Super Committee announced today that it will be unable to come to a compromise on a debt-reduction plan prior to the November 23 deadline. This deadline was set months ago by the Budget Control Act, which directed the committee to cut $1.2 trillion in from the federal budget to reduce the nation’s debt. 

The impasse centered upon a resistance to cut debt using a balanced approach, which included raising significant revenue through tax reforms.

“Refusing to raise significant revenue while slashing entitlements like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security wouldn’t have created a single job.  It would, however, further devastate the millions of Americans that continue to sacrifice in this economy,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.  “We thank the lawmakers that stood up for America’s middle class and programs that keep our children and elderly healthy.” 

The roadblock forces an automatic spending cut trigger known as a sequestration trigger, which will result in across the board cuts to be enacted in 2013.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the sequestration means an estimated 7.8 percent across-the-board cut in FY13, resulting in a $3.54 billion cut to education, including:

  • A cut of $1.1 billion to Title I that would impact almost 1.5 million students
  • A cut of $896 million to IDEA that would affect more than half a million students, and
  • A cut of $590 million to Head Start that would harm more than 75,000 young children.

“NEA will be working side-by-side with Congress next year to avoid further cuts to education and to help them come to a debt-reduction compromise,” said Van Roekel. “Americans are raising their voices across the country.  They’re fighting back against governments at all levels that keep forcing the middle class and unemployed to shoulder budget cuts.  We elected our leaders to represent all of us, not to help the top one percent dodge taxes in order to continue padding their bank accounts.  Wall Street needs to pay their fair share and Congress needs to focus on getting Americans back to work,” said Van Roekel. 

A report by NEA last week revealed that $222.7 billion in federal revenue was lost due to corporate tax loopholes between 2008 and 2010. $9.8 billion of that would have gone to our public schools and colleges, which meant nearly a half million children in poverty could have enrolled in preschool and saved approximately 127,000 education jobs. 

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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: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823, srobertson@nea.org