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NEA President: The Ryan Republican budget jeopardizes American dream

A better and smarter alternative exists that puts working families ahead of politics

WASHINGTON - April 01, 2014 -

U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) today unveiled the 2015 House Republican budget. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement:

“Chairman Ryan’s budget sets the wrong priorities for Americans, jeopardizes the American dream for millions of families, and takes the country in the wrong direction,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. “Unfortunately, his latest budget follows on the same harmful footsteps of his three previous budgets.

“Times are tough for working- and middle-class families. Chairman Ryan’s budget would make times tougher. His budget is an American dream killer. Americans are looking to Washington to stand up for them, to create opportunities for economic prosperity, and ensure a brighter future for the next generation. Ryan’s budget, unfortunately, falls far short. He continues to balance the budget on the backs of the nation’s most vulnerable—low- and moderate-income Americans, children, students, and seniors—while failing to demand corporations and the rich to pay their fair share. In short, his budget again makes a mockery of shared sacrifice.”

In order to provide more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest, the Ryan budget once again would impose deep cuts to education, health care, and retirement programs. Instead of responsibly replacing the devastating sequester, the Ryan budget would make it worse by violating the congressionally-approved even split between defense and non-defense spending and slash programs like education by nearly $800 billion in the next decade.

While college costs continue to rise, the Ryan budget would freeze the maximum Pell Grant award for a decade, making the dream of college more unattainable for students. He also calls for cutting Medicaid, an essential health care program for children, by more than $700 billion. And, once more, he proposes repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“We agree with President Obama and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate who know that it is time to bring the era of austerity to an end. Instead of more austerity, what is needed is fully replacing the harmful sequester budget cuts that Chairman Ryan’s policies helped to usher in and on which he is now doubling down.

“Congress should work to steer our economy back to fiscal health, create jobs, and restore the American Dream for the struggling middle class. That means investing in education, expanding early childhood education, making college more affordable, and transforming the economy to create more opportunities for working- and middle-class families.

“We need an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy. We look forward to working with Congress and the president to give all families a fair shot at reaching the American dream.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,


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