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Letter to the Senate on the Reed/Mikulski Amendment to the NDAA

June 08, 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 Yes on Amendment #4549 from Senators Reed (D-RI), Mikulski (D-MD) to Amendment # 4229 from Senator McCain (R-AZ) to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 2943). This amendment would create parity between Defense and Non- Defense Discretionary (NDD) spending, pursuant to 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.

The BBA was an important step in beginning to create the space necessary for reinvestment to be made in programs that grow our economy and our future while helping those who need it most. Crucially, this amendment would ensure that the parity in funding established by the BBA is continued. In matching the proposed $18 billion Defense funding increase, this amendment includes additional funding for vital NDD programs like the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, college affordability, and the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act. Also, this amendment provides needed investment in water infrastructure projects and lead contamination mitigation, including a grant to help address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The full potential of the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act can only be realized through adequate investments to help close opportunity and resource gaps and ensure all students have access to a high-quality education. 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. The Senate can continue that commitment by supporting this amendment.  

Again, we urge you to Vote Yes on amendment #4549 from Senators Reed and Mikulski, and encourage you to support a continued 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