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Letter to the House of Representatives supporting domestic spending amendment to 2008 supplemental appropriations bill

May 15, 2008

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to support the amendment to the 2008 supplemental appropriations bill that deals with domestic spending. Votes associated with this legislation may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

Specifically, we urge you to support the portions of the amendment that:

  • Extend unemployment insurance.
  • Provide expanded education benefits for veterans.
  • Place a one-year moratorium on pending Medicaid regulations as provided by the Protecting the Medicaid Safety Act (H.R. 5613), which the House passed by a vote of 349-62 on April 23, 2008.

The pending Medicaid regulations threaten the provision of education and other critical services, including health care for the most vulnerable among us: low-income children and children with disabilities. By the end of this fiscal year, more than half the states will be in the red and contemplating cuts in essential services. Deteriorating economic conditions and the consequent drop in state and local revenues leave them no choice. Unlike the federal government, the states must balance their budgets. We are encouraged that Congress has recognized the impact these Medicaid regulations would have on the states and proposed much-needed relief.

At the same time, we are deeply disappointed that the supplemental appropriations bill does not extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which expired at the end of 2006 and was included in the 2007 supplemental appropriations bill. Failure to support this program will have a devastating effect on students and educators in 4,400 rural school districts in 42 states. We will continue our efforts to address this important priority in the final bill, and look forward to working with you to achieve that goal.

We urge you to reauthorize and fund the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and to support the domestic spending amendment to the 2008 supplemental appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy