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Letter to the Senate on the Default Prevention Act of 2013 S. 1569

October 10, 2013

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we urge you to VOTE YES on the Default Prevention Act of 2013 S. 1569 expected to be voted on this week.  This clean debt ceiling bill takes the appropriate and responsible action of meeting our financial obligations and ensuring economic stability. Votes associated with this issue may be included in NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.   

Educators want Congress to work together to ensure America’s long-term economic prosperity.  But, raising the debt ceiling, something Congress has always done, to pay bills already incurred should not be held hostage to enact more cuts to programs that serve everyday Americans. Spending on domestic programs is already on track to be at the lowest level as a percentage of the economy since the 1960s. The Budget Control Act slashed Non-Defense Discretionary by $1.5 trillion, even before sequestration, which cut another $3 billion from education in FY13 alone. 

Congress ought to learn from the lessons of 2011, when political brinksmanship with raising the debt ceiling caused the largest market fluctuation on Wall Street since the financial collapse of 2008, the U.S. government’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our country’s history, and borrowing costs increased to the tune of $1.3 billion, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.  

These devastating consequences were all the result of merely delaying the debt ceiling increase until the last minute — not from defaulting.  The consequences of a default would reverberate across our economy affecting every American through higher interest rates, investors fleeing the U.S. market and broad economic uncertainty.

A responsible nation ought to pay its obligations.  We urge senators to consider the credibility and stability of the U.S. economy, the interests of its ordinary Americans already harmed by Congressional gridlock, and learn from the mistakes of our past so that we do not repeat them.  We commend Senator Reid for bringing forward a sensible measure to prevent a national default and urge you to VOTE YES on S. 1569.   

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations