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Letter to theHouse Opposing The Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth Working Group Act of 2013 (H.R. 3273)

October 08, 2013

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA) and the students they serve, we urge you to VOTE NO on The Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth Working Group Act of 2013 (H.R. 3273), a misguided strategy to ending this political stalemate, and instead pass a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) immediately.  Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.   

The shutdown of the federal government has already affected countless children, working families, and seniors across the country; the longer this crisis drags on the more pain will be inflicted upon those who least deserve it.  Meanwhile, H.R. 3273 seeks to create a “working group” of Senators and Representatives to discuss FY 2014 funding by attempting to achieve deficit reduction without accompanying revenue increases.  Students in America’s schools are bearing the brunt of this shutdown every day and require solutions now. 

Instead of seeking deficit reduction on the backs of those students and working families, Congress should take a responsible, balanced approach that reflects the values that make our nation strong: investing in people, jobs, and education as the path to prosperity.  By eliminating wasteful corporate tax breaks and loopholes and ensuring the wealthy are paying their fair share we can appropriately reduce our deficit.  As just one example, as many as two out of three U.S. corporations paid zero in federal income taxes over much of the previous decade, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The share of federal revenues coming from corporate taxes has shrunk by two-thirds in the last 50 years. This is undermining our ability to make the necessary investments in education that are sorely needed in order to return our nation to prosperity. 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 by calling on corporations and the very wealthy to pay their fair share.

Meanwhile, the current approach to deficit reduction without revenue increases has left us with the indiscriminate, across the board cuts of the sequester.  It is long past time for Congress to reverse course from the austerity approach that included slashing education across-the-board by 5 percent this year—the equivalent of cutting nearly all education programs and Head Start by roughly $3 billion. The level of cuts imposed by sequestration have already taken federal funding back to pre-2004 levels while our nation’s schools are serving nearly 6 million more students since that time.

There are millions of children being affected every day this shutdown continues.  That is why we urge you to think of every single individual when making these funding decisions to ensure continued debates on Capitol Hill are not hurting everyday Americans and their families. We urge you to immediately pass a clean CR to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are no longer the victims of the government shutdown and we can focus back on undoing the harmful effects of the sequester.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations