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Letter to the Senate urging support of FY09 budget resolution - 03/06/08

March 06, 2008

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to support the Chairman’s proposed fiscal year 2009 Senate Budget Resolution, which uses deficit-neutral reserve funds and tax provisions to provide nearly $20 billion more for education than the Administration has requested. This departure from the path the President wishes to take is essential. Our nation must equip the next generation of Americans to succeed in the global economy of the 21st century.  

The federal budget should reflect our nation’s priorities. Top among those priorities should be ensuring that all children have a quality education, best obtained through additional investments in proven programs such as:

  • Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Pell grants for higher education
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Furthermore, we support proposals to make higher education more accessible and affordable; modernize and build public schools; reduce teachers’ out-of-pocket expenditures for classroom materials; provide healthcare for the six million children eligible for — but not enrolled in — either Medicaid or SCHIP; and pave the way to reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, thereby providing critical payments to 4,400 school districts in rural counties in 42 states.

We encourage you to provide fiscal relief for the states and to develop a second, sorely needed stimulus package. Last week, 1,000 teachers in San Diego, California, received layoff notices precipitated by a $16 billion shortfall in state revenues — and that is just the beginning of the bad news. To help those hardest hit, we support extending unemployment insurance and moratoria on several Medicaid regulations, especially the Administration’s proposal to no longer provide reimbursement for school-based transportation. We support the proposed change in the Medicare Advantage program as well.     

Overall, the proposal is an essential step toward meeting the needs of underfunded programs and fulfilling every child’s basic right to a great public school. We urge passage of this resolution and look forward to working with you on these and other issues it moves forward.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy