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Congress' Omnibus Spending Bill a Win for Students

Lily Eskelsen García: The bill helps those students most in need, rejects the Trump/DeVos agenda

WASHINGTON - March 22, 2018 -

The House approved and the Senate is expected to follow suit on a bipartisan, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. The bill contains a nearly $4 billion boost in education funding. The following is a statement from NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“The omnibus funding bill takes the first step in reinvesting in education funding after years of reckless austerity and prioritizes programs which help our students most in need. It includes nearly a $4 billion boost in education funding with Title I, IDEA and Head Start all receiving important increases. It supports efforts to make college more affordable with a boost to Pell Grants, and includes an NEA-championed first ever discretionary appropriation for Public Service Loan Forgiveness to help public servants like educators.

“The bill rejects Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' request to eliminate important programs, like afterschool and Title II that provides professional development for teachers and reduces class sizes so students have more individualized support. It also renews the expired Secure Rural Schools Act with two years of desperately needed funding.

"The bill also rejects the worst of the Trump Administration's immigration policies, including no funding for a concrete wall or a Trump deportation force. However, we continue to be deeply disappointed that there is no permanent solution included for our Dreamers or DACA recipients.

"While there is still a ways to go with gun violence prevention, the bill takes modest steps to strengthen the existing background check systems, allows for research on gun violence, and prohibits school safety grant funding to be used for firearms or arming educators. But Congress must do more on gun violence prevention. This cannot be the last action taken by this Congress.

"Overall the bill is a step in the right direction, particularly in its focus on investments in education.

View NEA's letter to Congress on the bill here.

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

Celeste F. Busser
Senior Press Officer
National Education Association
1201 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036