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Letter to the House Budget Committee on FY16 Budget Resolution

March 17, 2015

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 Chairman Price’s FY16 Budget Resolution being marked up in the House Budget Committee tomorrow. Unfortunately, the proposed budget reflects the wrong priorities for our nation. Perpetuating the austerity approach, this budget cuts $5.5 trillion in investments over the next decade sacrificing the well-being of the middle class and our most vulnerable populations without adding a penny more in revenue from corporations or the wealthy. Actions in committee on this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.  

We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to craft a budget that ends sequester level cuts and leaves room for key investments in formula-funded programs like Title I and IDEA, which help our students most in need. Congress should build upon the bipartisan work of the FY2014-15 Murray-Ryan budget deal.  

We strongly oppose Chairman Price’s proposed budget because it takes us in the wrong direction as a nation. Specifically, we oppose: 

  • Doubling down on deep cuts to education and other domestic programs. This proposal would cut Non-Defense-Discretionary programs (i.e. education, health care, job training, etc.), which are already at historically low levels, by $759 billion over the next decade – this would force even deeper cuts to crucial investments like education depriving students of the opportunity they all deserve for a quality education.
  • Freezing Pell Grant awards for the next 10 years when Congress should be trying to help make college more affordable for more students. This budget would eliminate multiple education programs.
  • Slashing Medicaid and other health programs, which provides healthcare for one-third of our nation’s children, by turning it into a block grant program. The Price proposal cuts Medicaid and other health programs by $913 billion over ten years, increasing costs for states resulting fewer funds available for investments in education and other vital programs. Every day, NEA members see firsthand the link between access to healthcare and children’s success in school. Students struggle to learn if they do not come to school healthy. Further, this cut will shift costs to the states resulting in fewer funds being available for education and other vital programs.
  • Slashing SNAP funding by turning it into a block grant program — leaving states with the tough decision of determining who will no longer receive assistance. Educators know first-hand that hungry children struggle to learn and that access to an adequate and healthy diet is essential to academic success. The clear link between good nutrition and learning is evident in schools across the nation every day.
  • Repealing the Affordable Care Act which would be devastating to the millions of children and their families who would lose healthcare. A repeal of ACA would take away the fear from being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition and the right for parents to continue to cover their children on their health policies until age 26.
  • Voucherizing Medicare and shifting costs to seniors. Under the proposed plan, seniors would receive “premium support”—fixed payments to help buy coverage, which would likely fail to keep pace with rising healthcare costs. The plan also could also lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making the pool of beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker—and increasingly costly to cover.  

The federal budget should ensure everyone has a fair shot and make the investments necessary for economic growth. Chairman Price’s proposed budget runs completely counter to our values as a nation. We need an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.  

We urge you Vote No on Chairman Price’s FY 16 budget resolution, which endangers our economic recovery and also restrains future economic growth by depriving the nation of key investments in rebuilding our infrastructure and supporting high-value research and development, in addition to education. We look forward to working with this Committee and members of Congress to advance policies that give all families a fair shot at reaching the American dream.  

Sincerely,  

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations