NEA LAUNCHES AD CAMPAIGN: URGE CONGRESS TO END THE SHUTDOWN, PREVENT DEFAULT AND STOP SEQUESTER CUTS
As the second week of the government shutdown draws to an end, there are some signs that negotiations are taking shape to end the shutdown and to avoid a national default on our debt. President Obama met this week with Democratic and Republican caucuses from the House and Senate.
In addition to the ongoing problems created by the shutdown, the next looming deadline hits Thursday, October 17, by which time Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said Congress must raise the debt ceiling to avert a default and shake the economy. While House Republicans floated a six-week-only extension of the debt ceiling, Senate Democrats may bring an NEA-supported measure to extend it to December 31, 2014, to the floor for a vote this Saturday.
This weekend, NEA is launching a TV and online ad campaign – “Not a Game” – aimed at pressuring wavering Republicans to stand up to the Tea Party-led faction that helped cause the government shutdown and brought the country to the brink of a default. Read NEA’s statement on the campaign.
The need to end the government shutdown grows by the day, as more students and families are impacted. This week, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools reported that at least 26 school districts are worried about delays in critical federal Impact Act expected in early November. NAFIS predicts that 50 to 60 more districts could soon find themselves in a financial bind, with rural schools near Native American reservations at greatest risk.
Meanwhile, the halt in financial aid for active-duty service members during the shutdown is jeopardizing their academic progress and forcing some to withdraw from classes, according to officials at colleges with large military populations, Inside Higher Ed reports.
NEA has asked members to share their stories about the local impact of the shutdown and the sequester cuts. Here’s what two of them had to say:
- “We are angry that the grown men who we elected to represent us are acting like little kids trying to get the upper hand. Forget your stupid politics, Congressmen, and start doing something for your people!” wrote a California educator.
- “I work for Head Start, we lost several centers, several staff, an entire department and several student/family slots … my daughter’s school district has been adversely affected as well. Last year in just the fifth grade she capped off at 60 (sixty!) students in her class,” wrote a Colorado educator.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! – Tell Congress to pass a clean funding bill to re-open the government, avoid a national default on debt, and end sequester level cuts in any final FY 2014 funding bill.
TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO SUPPORT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL
Thousands of people in more than 175 cities across America rallied on Oct. 5 in support of comprehensive immigration reform, culminating a few days later in a March and Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect on Capitol Hill. NEA Executive Director John Stocks spoke at the rally and participated in a civil disobedience action. Read his personal story here.
Participants urged the House to pass the NEA-supported H.R. 15, a comprehensive immigration reform measure introduced by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Closely modeled after the bipartisan measure that passed the Senate in June, H.R. 15 would provide a 13-year pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans and a five-year expedited pathway to citizenship for eligible DREAMers.
The time is now for the House to act. NEA continues to urge common-sense and comprehensive immigration reform that:
- Creates a realistic path to citizenship for all the aspiring Americans who call the United States home.
- Preserves the unity of families, traditional and nontraditional.
- Creates an expedited path to citizenship for students brought to the United States as children.
CHEERS AND JEERS
Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and George Miller (D-CA) for issuing a new report detailing the harmful impact of continued budget cuts on children. “Even before sequestration took effect, deficit reduction was taking place on the backs of poor and middle class Americans. This madness must stop. Congress needs to get America back to the business of helping the economy grow and enabling America’s children and families to succeed, not mindlessly tearing down services that are critical to millions of people across the country.”
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for adding his voice to the growing list of Republicans calling for an end to the government shutdown: “I don’t think we’re serving any policy or political goals by keeping the government shut down.”
Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL) for spearheading a Congressional letter to Malala Yousafzai, the heroic Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban for speaking out about the need for girls’ education. From the letter: “We share your vision of equitable education as a basic human right ... Where girls have access to quality education, their communities enjoy greater economic growth, democracy, and social justice.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) for questioning the threat of national default absent a raising of the debt limit. “If you don’t raise the debt ceiling that means you won’t have a balanced budget, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t pay your bills,” he said.
Represenative Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) for suggesting that before Republicans agree to end the government shutdown – which is preventing hundreds of thousands of Americans from receiving paychecks and harming students – they need a political win. He said the caucus needed “some type of win out of this” – and more than just getting Obama to the table. “But we need something a little bit more than a moral win.”