Letter to the Senate on the Continuing Resolution
September 19, 2012
On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to offer our views on the Continuing Resolution (CR) scheduled for floor consideration today.
First, we are pleased that the CR maintains the aggregate nondefense discretionary level stablished in the Budget Control Act, rejecting the draconian path proposed under the Ryan budget and providing a very modest 0.6% across-the-board increase in programs. This increase will result in an additional $417 million for Department of Education programs. Yet, this modest bump still falls short of what is needed to ensure all students the resources needed to succeed, as critical programs like Title I and IDEA continue to be underfunded while enrollments rise and the number of students in need of support increases.
We recognize also that the CR does not address the looming sequestration cuts scheduled to go into effect in early 2013. Absent action by Congress to find significant revenues, education programs will suffer devastating cuts — a projected eight percent cut to education totaling a loss of more than $4 billion in 2013 alone. These cuts will impact millions of students and cost thousands of education jobs, hurting economic recovery and our future strength as a nation. Any future budget agreement must ask the top two percent of earners to pay their fair share and must not continue to burden the middle class, children, and others who have already sacrificed so much.
We would also like to express our concerns regarding the inclusion in the CR of an extended pay freeze for federal employees. Every day federal employees provide essential services to the American people, including educating the children of our nation’s military families. Sixty-two percent of federal workers only earn between $25,000 and $75,000 a year. Yet, they continue to face compensation cuts and job losses, as agencies budgets are downsized under federal mandate. And, they have already made significant sacrifices to help reduce the national deficit by accepting a two-year pay freeze, resulting in $60 billion in savings. Instead of asking further sacrifice of these middle class workers, we should be calling on the wealthiest in our nation to do their part.
We thank you for your consideration of our views on these important issues.
Director of Government Relations