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Letter to the Senate Appropriations Commitee on 302(b) Allocations

June 19, 2013

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we strongly urge you to support the 302(b) allocations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 proposed by Chairwoman Mikulski to be voted on in committee tomorrow. NEA commends Chairwoman Mikulski’s leadership and her prioritization of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill in this year’s markup process.  Votes associated with this issue may be included in NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.  

The proposed allocation will prevent continuation of the short-sighted and harmful sequester cuts and indeed provide room for urgently needed, targeted investments in education from preK through higher education. By contrast, the House allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriation is 18.6 percent below the final FY 2013 sequester level and 22.2 percent below the FY 13 pre-sequester Continuing Resolution (CR) level.  

An FY 2014 Labor-HHS-Education appropriation at the House level would be devastating for students, schools, colleges, and states and completely dwarf the already negative impact of the current sequestration cuts. Excluding Pell Grants, if the Department of Education’s discretionary budget were to be cut by 18.6 percent, FY14 would crater to levels below FY2002, the first year under the No Child Left Behind Act. Meanwhile, our preK-12 schools are educating 2.22 million more students and our higher education institutions are educating 5.43 million more students. Put another way, while our nation’s students are now expected to be prepared to compete in a global economy, Congress would be suggesting that our schools can get by with educating more than 7.65 million more students with no additional resources. This defies commonsense. 

The need to increase the federal investment in education has never been greater. Education permeates every aspect of the economic environment.  A growing economy requires a capable and innovative workforce able to drive the country forward.  The future of that workforce is dependent on investment in our students’ education today. Again, we urge you to support Chairwoman Mikulski’s proposed allocations for Fiscal Year 2014 funding bills. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations