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April 8, 2011
As an educator and a constituent, I want to express my strong opposition
to the House FY 2012 budget proposal.
I believe that the budget resolution should reflect the priorities of our
nation. Unfortunately, the proposed budget reflects the wrong priorities,
choosing to meet arbitrary budget targets on the backs of the middle class
and our most vulnerable populations.
I understand that Congress must work to ensure America's long-term
economic prosperity. And, I recognize that we must address the nation's
serious fiscal challenges. However, I do not believe that cutting
education funding is the right way to address these challenges. Slashing
programs that serve children, the elderly, and working families is also
not the answer.
Investing in education should be a top priority for the budget resolution.
Yet, the proposed budget all but ignores proven education programs, and
focuses instead on slashing critical student financial aid and funneling
taxpayer dollars to private schools. This is shortsighted policy that
will jeopardize our students' future and the future strength of our nation.
I also oppose dismantling health care for the poor, disabled, and elderly
by turning Medicaid into a block grant program. I worry that this will
put additional pressures on stretched state budgets and have a direct,
negative impact on the resources available for students and schools. I am
also concerned about the impact on children. Fifty percent of Medicaid
enrollees are children and one-third of all children receive their health
care through Medicaid. Students who lack access to health care services
are less likely to come to school healthy and ready to learn and to
I am also very concerned about the proposal to cut Pell Grants. Without
the federal commitment to student financial aid, there will not be enough
educated, skilled Americans to sustain economic recovery, or to secure our
nation's future for the next generation.
The proposed budget places the burden for addressing the nation's
financial crisis squarely on the shoulders of the middle class and the
poor. It runs completely counter to our values as a nation, by failing to
take care of those most in need while sparing those at higher income
levels. It asks our children, working families, elderly, and disabled
populations to make greater sacrifices than others.
Patricia L. Cleveland