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Letter to the Senate supporting CLOTURE on H.R. 6049

June 10, 2008

Dear Senator:


As a follow up to our letter to you yesterday, we would like to remind you VOTE YES ON CLOTURE for the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), scheduled for a floor debate this week. In addition to the reasons we outlined yesterday for supporting cloture (extension of educators' out-of-pocket classroom supply expenses, QZAB school modernization program, and Child Tax Credit), moving forward with this bill will allow the Senate to consider a substitute that would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program for four years. Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination program is essential to the survivability of over 800 rural counties and 4,400 schools near national forests in 42 states across the country. It has made a real difference for schools in rural, timber-dependent counties, by ensuring them a consistent funding stream. Since its creation in 2000, the program has been an enormous success. Prior to implementation of this program, schools in forest counties were in crisis, experiencing dramatic reductions in funding. The program has restored critical educational services for students in rural schools and prevented the closure of numerous isolated rural schools.

Unfortunately, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act has expired. Failure to reauthorize and fund it immediately will result in a substantial and devastating funding cut for rural counties across the country. Congress has only a short time to act before counties have to start implementing cuts to schools and services. In fact, a number of counties around the country have already begun sending out pink slips notifying employees of potential lay offs.

The substitute including reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools program will only be considered if the Senate reaches cloture on H.R. 6049. We urge your support for cloture on this important legislation.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy