On September 30, Congress approved a continuing resolution (CR – short term funding measure) until December 11, 2015. This stop-gap measure averted the widely talked about shut down of the federal government.
The budget deliberations have been complicated by the sudden resignation of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) on September 25 when he announced he will step down at the end of October. Boehner isn’t ruling out addressing the nation’s borrowing limit before he leaves office but, raising the debt ceiling will entail some heavy lifting.
So, what comes next? Reports of high-level budget talks between congressional leaders and the White House are set to start soon, which means the budget process is far from over. Republicans, democrats, and the President remain far apart on spending priorities for various federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but some in Congress haven’t gotten the message. If Congress doesn’t take action, the disastrous budget cuts to our nation’s most critical programs—including special, gifted, and early education, education research, health, veterans’ care, law enforcement, and more-- will go back into effect, causing pain to millions of Americans across the country.
How did we get here? In 2011, Congress passed a law that cut federal spending by nearly $1 trillion and said that if lawmakers couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion, another $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board budget cuts would start to take effect in 2013. Though the “Murray-Ryan” deal temporarily stopped these cuts from taking place, that deal expires in fiscal year 2016. That’s why more than 2,500 national, state and local organizations including CEC are calling on Congress to avoid the impending fiscal disaster and end sequestration. These organizations have come together to say, Raise the Spending Caps. Enough is enough.
The impending cuts will be bad, really bad. If Congress does not work together to stop sequestration, the resulting budget could:
- Shortchange special education and early intervention services to over 6 million children ages birth through young adulthood and their families.
- Eliminate funding for gifted education programs across the nation to over 3 million students who are academically gifted.
- Shortchange education research for children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents.
Experts across the political spectrum agree these programs aren’t a driving factor behind our nation’s mid- and long-term fiscal challenges. In fact, reversing sequestration could actually create as many as 1.4 million jobs over the next two years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports.
So Congress can act to end a failed policy now and prevent another fiscal crisis, or deal with finding a cure for its aftermath. There is bipartisan agreement that sequestration is bad policy and ultimately hurts our nation. Let’s choose prevention over cure and Raise the Spending Caps.
Please write a letter to your members of Congress to Raise the Spending Caps on CEC’s Legislative Action Center Here.