On behalf of our 3 million members and the 50 million students they serve, we urge you to VOTE YES on the omnibus, the final FY2023 funding bill. Votes on this issue may be included in NEA’s Report Card for the 117th Congress.
In particular, we support the:
- $3.2 billion increase for Department of Education programs. The increase targets the students most in need and includes 5 percent more for Title I, 6 percent more for IDEA state grants, and doubles funding for the highly successful Full-Service Community School Program.
- Notable increases in other education programs. These increases address career and technical education, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions, English-language learners, afterschool programs, and more.
- Permanent extension of the summer EBT program. While we are pleased by this effort to ensure that students do not go hungry when school is out, we are disappointed that it is paid for by cutting SNAP emergency benefits and by the failure to expand the highly effective community eligibility provision for school meals.
- Inclusion of the Electoral Count Act. This bill will ensure that the electoral votes tallied by Congress accurately reflect the people’s vote in each state. It also clarifies that the vice president’s role is limited to presiding over the ballot-counting process.
- Expanded access to health care. Eligible new mothers can keep Medicaid coverage for 12 continuous months, children can keep Medicaid/CHIP coverage for 12 continuous months even if family income changes, and Medicare telehealth flexibilities extend through 2024.
- First increase in National Labor Relations Board funding in 13 years. Public-service employees, including educators, deserve the right to negotiate over pay, benefits, and working conditions.
- Additional funding to address the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi. This unspeakable crisis has forced students and educators out of their classrooms, creating new hardships for already struggling families.
At the same time, we are deeply disappointed by the failure to include permanent protections for immigrants in the omnibus—especially those covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—and the failure to continue recent progress in lifting some 4 million children out of poverty by again expanding the child tax credit.
Despite these shortcomings, we urge you to VOTE YES on the omnibus for the reasons cited above.
Director of Government Relations
National Education Association