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U.S. House Republican leaders set to repeat budget mistakes of the past

The 2016 GOP budget would wreak havoc, endanger economic growth and hurt students and families


WASHINGTON - March 17, 2015 -

Today the U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA) unveiled the GOP 2016 budget proposal. The austerity budget could not have come at a worse time for working families and students. More than 50 percent of the nation’s public school students now qualify to receive free and reduced-priced meals. Fifteen million children in the United States — 20 percent of all children — live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“The wash, rinse, and repeat governing style ushered by Republican leaders on Capitol Hill has to end. If enacted, the Republican budget will endanger economic growth and will rob working- and middle-class families of economic opportunities now and in the future. Families and students have been on the receiving end of their austerity-at-all-costs budgeting for the past three years—an approach that has hindered income growth and deprived students of the opportunities they all deserve. Yet, here we are again, and they are about to repeat the budget mistakes of the past. Congress can and should do better than that.

“This budget does not ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share. Instead, it aims to balance the budget on the backs of families and students by slashing investments in education, job training, health care, and nutrition assistance for families and children most in need.

“We look forward to working with lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle to put students and families first by enacting smart and pragmatic budget priorities. By working in a bipartisan manner, Congress has a unique opportunity to tackle the nation’s pressing matters as it did just two years ago with a budget agreement, so that more working families have a fair shot at the American Dream.”

The GOP budget proposal would:

  • Cut Non-Defense-Discretionary programs by $759 billion over the next decade, including education and job training, public safety, public health, among other critical programs already at historically low levels;
  • Freeze the maximum Pell Grant award for the next decade;
  • Eliminate education programs, without specifying which ones;
  • Block grant Medicaid, inevitably leading to cuts in health care coverage for children and families in need;
  • Privatize Medicare, shortchanging seniors of health care coverage;
  • Attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health care coverage for millions of Americans who previously had none; and
  • Target the SNAP program for deeper cuts, limiting nutrition assistance for families and children most in need.

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The National Education Association (www.nea.org) is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org