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Letter to the Senate on Amendments to S Con Res 11

March 25, 2015

Dear Senator:  

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA) and the students they serve, and as a follow-up to our letter on the underlying bill, the S. Con. Res. 11, we wish to share our views on selected amendments to be voted on this week. Votes associated with this bill may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.  

NEA’s views on select amendments are listed below in numerical order:

  • Sen. Murray (#TBD) – Support.  Replaces sequestration evenly across defense and non-defense investments for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  The amendment builds on the bipartisan FY2014-15 Murray-Ryan budget deal and rolls back the automatic and austere cuts to education, health care, job training, etc., that are hurting families, communities and our economy.  
  • Sen. Coons (#327) – Support. Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide funding to improve voter registration and the voting experience in Federal elections.  
  • Sen. Inhofe (#375) – Oppose. Establishes a spending-neutral reserve fund to give the states authority over school nutrition, turning it into a block grant program to the states. This leaves schools 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.   
  • Sen. Thune (#467) – Oppose. Exempts schools from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “shared responsibility for employers” provision (often mistakenly referred to as an “employer mandate”). We are concerned the amendment changes the ACA’s definition of what constitutes fulltime employment from “on average at least 30 hours of service a week” monthly to an average of 40 hours per week monthly and would adversely affect overall employer-sponsored health insurance and harm families, children and educators who need coverage.  
  • Sen. Stabenow (#523) – Support. Prevents U.S. companies from getting tax benefits for moving jobs overseas, ends offshore tax loopholes including inversions, and provides incentives for U.S. companies to relocate overseas jobs to the U.S.  Closing tax loopholes ensures companies pay their fair share of taxes that help invest in our country’s infrastructure, including public education.  
  • Sen. Rubio (#549) – Oppose. Establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for tax credits to be used by low- and middle-income students to attend private elementary and secondary schools. This amendment would further cut funds for public education by diverting funding to private schools.  
  • Sen. Baldwin (#432) – Support. Provides additional resources to create the opportunity for more Americans to obtain a higher education and advanced job skills by supporting two free years of community college paid for by raising revenue through requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes.  
  • Sen. Warren (#652) – Support. Makes college more affordable for middle-class families by allowing student loan borrowers with outstanding Federal and private student loans the ability to refinance at the equivalent interest rates that were offered to Federal student loan borrowers during the 2013-2014 school year and to fully offset the cost of such a program by requiring millionaires to pay at least 30 percent effective Federal tax rate.  

The NEA opposes spending-neutral reserve funds because, unlike a deficit neutral reserve fund, they allow offsets only through cuts in other spending.  Spending-neutral reserve funds are just another way to enact even more cuts to investments. 

We thank you for your consideration of our views on these amendments to the underlying bill, S. Con. Res. 11. 

Sincerely,   

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations