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Letter to the House opposing three budget process bills: H.R. 1871, H.R. 1872, and H.R. 1874

April 02, 2014

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we urge you to oppose the three budget process bills scheduled for a vote later this week. Specifically, we urge you to:

  • Vote NO on the Baseline Reform Act (H.R. 1871)
  • Vote NO on the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act (H.R. 1872)
  • Vote NO on the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act (H.R. 1874)

Votes on these bills may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.

The Baseline Reform Act (HR. 1871) would unnecessarily politicize what is otherwise a fairly simple, straightforward method of accurately measuring changes in spending policies. In constructing budget “baselines” that project funding levels for future years, the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget would be required to assume that funding remained frozen indefinitely, establishing an unrealistic and misleading benchmark. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, removing inflation adjustments from budget projections for discretionary programs would make deficit and debt projections appear more favorable than they actually are; in real terms, funding for discretionary programs would decline year after year.

The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act (H.R. 1872) would artificially raise the cost of federal credit programs, particularly student loan programs, through the use of “fair value” accounting procedures, likely leading to cuts in such programs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “[I]f fair-value procedures were used to estimate the cost of new credit activity in 2014, the total deficit for the year would be about $50 billion greater than the deficit as measured under current estimating procedures.”

The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act (H.R. 1874) would require the use of “dynamic scoring” in scoring estimates – consideration of “macroeconomic feedbacks” such as how changes in tax or spending policies affect the economy as a whole. Since estimates of macroeconomic feedbacks are notably uncertain, using them to estimate revenue would be nothing more than budget gimmick grounded in fuzzy math.

All three of these bills would likely have the effect of causing greater cuts in key investments, like education, and making it more difficult to raise necessary revenue. We urge you to vote NO on H.R. 1871, H.R. 1872, and H.R. 1874.


Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations