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Letter to the Senate on domestic spending in the 2008 supplemental appropriations bill

May 22, 2008

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we want to remind you of the critical importance of the portions of the 2008 supplemental appropriations bill that deal with domestic spending. NEA members across the country are deeply concerned about these issues and are watching congressional actions closely. Votes associated with this legislation may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

We strongly support provisions that would:

  • Delay pending Medicaid regulations that threaten the provision of school-based health care for low-income children and children with disabilities. More than half the states are contemplating cuts in critical services, including health care and education. The deteriorating economy and consequent drop in revenues leaves them no choice - by law, the states must balance their budgets. Congress must recognize the impact these Medicaid regulations would have on the states and provide much-needed relief .
  • Extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. This program expired at the end of 2006 and was extended for a year by the 2007 emergency supplemental appropriations bill. Failure to support the program at this juncture will have a devastating effect on students and educators in 4,400 rural school districts in 42 states .
  • Extend unemployment insurance benefits . Extending unemployment benefits will provide an immediate boost for the economy and help struggling families get back on their feet.
  • Expand education benefits for veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan . Veterans of these conflicts deserve the same respect as veterans of World War II. Expanded education benefits are an appropriate way to recognize their service and equip them to succeed as they re-enter civilian society.

We, and our members, would be deeply disappointed if these provisions are not included in the final bill.

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy