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NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: Senate budget proposal is responsible and balanced

Senate Democratic budget sets the right priorities for Americans

WASHINGTON - March 13, 2013 -

Today the Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee Patty Murray unveiled the budget for Fiscal Year 2014. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement on behalf of the National Education Association’s more than 3 million members.

“The Senate Democratic budget rightly reflects the values of educators, students, and middle class families. The budget is serious, responsible, and balanced. It shows a real commitment to returning to solid fiscal footing without jeopardizing the important economic gains made during the past four years and asks the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.

“Educators, especially, welcome the renewed commitment to making smart and targeted infrastructure investments—including school modernization and job training programs—that pave the way for continued economic growth. These investments will go a long way toward making sure students have the tools and resources needed to compete and succeed in a global economy.

“The Senate Democratic budget stands in stark contrast to Rep. Paul Ryan’s irresponsible and unbalanced budget. If Rep. Ryan gets his way, 50 million students, including the most vulnerable—students in high-poverty communities and students with disabilities—would experience the brunt of the cuts directly. That means larger class sizes, less individualized attention and support in class, and fewer classroom teachers and aides for students with special needs. In addition to slashing Medicaid, which provides healthcare for one-third of our nation’s children, the Ryan budget cuts the tax rates for the wealthiest from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, and cuts the tax rates for corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent.

“The Senate Democratic budget shows that some in Congress are serious about finding a balanced approach to moving the country forward and restoring our economic strength by putting students ahead of political ideology while demanding corporations and the rich to pay their fair share in taxes. Although this budget is serious about finding the right balance to moving the country forward, we have serious reservations about the potential for additional cuts to domestic programs down the road. As is, spending on critical programs already is at its lowest level as a percentage of the economy since the 1960s.

“Congress has an obligation to find a responsible, balanced, and permanent solution to avoid inflicting further pain on students, families, and communities. It is time to put politics aside, do what is right for our nation, and take the balanced approach to deficit reduction widely supported by voters. We encourage Republican leaders such as Chairman Ryan to follow Chairwoman Murray’s lead and find a path to a bipartisan budget agreement that puts middle-class families and students first.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,