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Letter to the Senate on Senator McCain's Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act S. 2943

May 24, 2016

Dear Senator:

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 the expected amendment from Senator McCain (R-AZ) to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 2943). This expected amendment would increase Defense spending by an additional $17 billion, while ignoring the precedent of parity with Non- Defense Discretionary (NDD) continued by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.

Unilaterally increasing Defense spending runs counter to the work accomplished last fall when Congress passed the BBA. Passage of the budget agreement showed that members of Congress recognized the importance of ending harmful sequester level funding by raising budget caps while also ensuring parity between Defense and Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) programs like education, health care, and job training.   

The BBA was an important step in beginning to create the space necessary for investments to be made in programs that will grow our economy and our future while helping those who need it most. However, despite raising the budget caps, including increases in FY16 to programs like Title I, IDEA and Head Start, education funding for disadvantaged students is still 10 percent below FY10 levels when adjusted for inflation. The full potential of the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act can only be realized through continued funding parity for Defense and NDD programs that recognizes the need for key investments to help close opportunity and resource gaps and ensure all students have access to a high-quality education.

Again, we urge you to Vote No on Senator McCain’s expected amendment to S. 2943, and encourage you to support a bipartisan path forward that increases funding with parity for Defense and NDD programs like education, health care and job training. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues to ensure all students, regardless of zip code, have the tools and resources they need to learn.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations