Letters to Congress and the Administration

CEF letter supporting education funding increases in FY 2023 Labor-HHS-Education bill

July 11, 2022

Dear Member of Congress:

We write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to support the increased education investments in the House Appropriations Committee’s fiscal year 2023 Labor-HHS-Education bill. Although not quite as large as the funding increases CEF supports in the President’s request, the $86.7 billion provided for Department of Education programs is an $11.3 billion (15 percent) increase over the net 2022 level. These investments will build on last year’s funding increases to help schools, students and families, institutions of higher education, and entire communities provide high quality education. This bill also provides needed increases in funding for early childhood programs, workforce training, and other education-related programs outside the Department of Education.

Tight caps on non-defense discretionary funding from 2013 to 2021 led the federal government to underinvest in education despite growing needs; Department of Education funding remained below the FY 2011 level for six years, and current  funding is still $12 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms. The need for greater federal investments has only grown since the pandemic began. With COVID-relief funds almost entirely obligated, we urge Congress to address long under-funded education priorities that span the education continuum from early education, K-12 education, adult and career technical education, post-secondary education, and out-of-school educational services. The education funding approved by the House Appropriations Committee represent a first step to provide immediate investments that will reap returns for years to come.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Emmanual A. Guillory                           Sarah Abernathy

President                                                 Executive Director

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Letter from CEF and Labor-HHS-Education community supporting highest possible level for FY 2023

May 10, 2022

Dear Chairman Leahy, Chair DeLauro, Vice Chairman Shelby, and Ranking Member Granger:

The 369 undersigned organizations—representing the full range of stakeholders supporting the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill—thank you for your leadership in supporting families and communities by enacting earlier COVID-19 relief funding and funding for ongoing programs for FY 2022. We urge you to build on those investments by supporting a significant increase in the FY 2023 allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee that ensures the robust, sustained, and predictable investments that these programs require.

The programs and services funded by the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee have a profound impact on health and well-being, child development, educational and skills attainment, and productivity, yet they have been shortchanged in the appropriations process since spending caps were enacted in 2011. We recommend an allocation of at least $239.59 billion to address the gaps created from years of underfunding these essential programs. The need for these key investments has only grown over time, leaving important services and activities underfunded by billions of dollars, ultimately undermining the future strength, economic development, and security of our nation.

The COVID-19 emergency funding Congress enacted helped to address new costs and needs caused by the pandemic on a short-term basis. However, these services face a funding cliff as that funding is spent. We need sustained annual increases across the Labor-HHS-Education programs to address long-standing needs that existed before the pandemic, and these increases cannot come at the expense of other programs within the bill. The programs in the Labor-HHS-Education bill strengthen the nation by improving Americans’ lives and meeting basic needs for a broad range of constituencies. The effects of chronic underfunding have impacted programs that support education, public health, health research, job training, and social services. The effects include:

  • Serving 1.5 million fewer low-income people through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in 2018 than in 2010, despite growing need, because funding was reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.7 billion over this period (and cut 6 percent from FY 2010 to FY 2022, adjusted for inflation).
  • Eroding the public health and research infrastructure and workforce, limiting our ability to address disease prevention, respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and monitor ongoing health trends for new and emerging threats.
  • Hindering efforts to address learning loss and opportunity gaps created by the pandemic, to raise student achievement, and to increase high school graduation rates, college affordability, and college completion.
  • Leaving far too many low-income children without access to high quality preschool and other early learning opportunities.
  • Providing child care to only one in nine eligible children under age 6, with child care providers paid so little that one in four early childhood educators take second jobs to make ends meet.
  • Hindering workers’ access to the skills, training, and education necessary to access the jobs for which employers are currently hiring.
  • Preventing almost one million people from accessing the critical workforce and job training services that Congress overwhelmingly authorized in 2014. The U.S. invests less than every other industrialized country in active labor market policy, except for Mexico and Chile, and would need to invest $80 billion annually just to reach the median of our international peers.
  • Ignoring the needs of individuals who find themselves without a high school credential and who need a pathway back to education, employment, and active citizenship.
  • Providing inadequate resources to deal with the substance use disorder crisis.
  • While starting to reverse Maternal and Child Health Block Grant funding losses, FY 2022 funding remains 10 percent below the levels in FY 2010 when taking inflation into account.
  • Failing to keep pace with growing child welfare needs, especially as communities grapple with the destructive impact of substance use disorders on families. Child Welfare Services funding, for example, was cut 24 percent from FY 2010 to FY 2022, adjusted for inflation.

Without a substantial increase in the Subcommittee’s allocation, it will be impossible to support all of the essential programs in the Labor-HHS-Education bill at the levels needed to invest appropriately across key priorities, including public health infrastructure; emergency preparedness and infectious disease surveillance; disease prevention and management; health research; efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates among women of color; overcoming disruptions in learning disproportionately affecting students of color, with disabilities, and with low incomes; continuing to improve college affordability and completion; responding to the opioid epidemic; improving mental health services; and achieving the intended innovation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.

In order to provide an adequate increase for Labor-HHS-Education services, there must be a robust increase in the total allocated for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. We note that very high increases needed for V.A. Medical Care (estimated by the Biden Administration to require a 22.5 percent increase for FY 2023), if included within the NDD appropriations category, will swallow a large proportion of the funding available to respond to growing needs in Labor-HHS-Education as well as other areas. We support holding V.A. Medical Care funding separate to allow for other essential funding increases.

We urge you to commit to improving the lives of Americans by significantly boosting the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education bill for FY 2023 to provide needed services for the American public. If you have questions about this letter, please contact:

Sincerely,

[see signatories in PDF]

 

 

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CEF letter urging FY 2022 bill with education increases

January 31, 2022

Dear Members of Congress:

We write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to urge Congress to quickly enact fiscal year 2022 funding with the largest possible increases for education. The President requested historic increased investments for education programs, the House passed similar vital increases in July 2021, and the Senate Appropriations Committee released a bill last fall with slightly smaller increases to address these pressing needs. More than four months into this fiscal year, education programs are operating on temporary funding that is frozen at last year’s levels, not knowing how much support they will ultimately get. With all the disruption and challenges to education in the last two years, the last thing that’s needed is more uncertainty and delays in federal support.

Education has been so underfunded for years due to tight budget constraints that on-going Education programs now receive $7 billion less than a decade ago in inflation-adjusted terms. With discretionary spending caps no longer in place, the Administration and Congress have proposed to use the opportunity of fiscal year 2022 appropriations to invest in our future with strategic increases to address long-standing needs. The proposals provide vital funding along the education continuum from early childhood to K-12 education; adult and career technical education; and higher education. Any further delay in enacting full-year, increased funding will make it harder to provide needed early childhood services, train and hire educators, ensure student aid that provides access to post-secondary education, and support wraparound educational services.

We urge Congress to quickly finalize these vital education investments at the highest possible levels to support educational improvements that will have profound impacts on teaching and learning; benefitting families and communities; and boosting the economy.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Emmanual A. Guillory
President

Sarah Abernathy
Executive Director

 

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CEF and other coalitions urge Congress to enact FY 2022 appropriations

November 19, 2021

 

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro Chair
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kay Granger Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Richard Shelby Vice
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chair DeLauro, Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Granger, and Vice Chairman Shelby:

On behalf of the Campaign to invest in American’s Workforce, the Coalition for Health Funding, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the Committee for Education Funding and our members, we urge you to pass the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Labor‐HHS‐Education appropriations bill as soon as possible. The bill passed by the House this summer and the bill proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee this fall provide vital increased funding for the programs and services that have a profound impact on health and well‐being, child development, educational and skills attainment, employment, and productivity. Failing to enact the FY 2022 bill and relying on continuing resolutions (CRs) would be a grave missed opportunity to improve the lives of all Americans.

The use of extended CRs creates disruption and dysfunction, and injects fiscal uncertainty into an already uncertain environment for the agencies that support the nation’s public health, education, job training, social services, and much more. The reliance on CRs that extend far into the new fiscal year that has become commonplace in recent years limits Congress’s ability to exercise its oversight authority and make necessary adjustments to funding levels to meet new demands.

While short‐term CRs are challenging enough, the possibility of a year‐long CR could be catastrophic as our nation continues to struggle to return to normalcy amidst the COVID‐19 pandemic. Below are some examples highlighting the challenges that a year‐long continuing resolution poses to critical programs funded by the Labor‐HHS‐Education appropriations bill:

  • Last year, the nation’s overdose rate increased by a staggering 30 percent with 90,000 deaths nationwide—a rate of increase not seen in three decades and it is now reported that drug overdose deaths reached 100,000 between April 2020 and April 2021, a grim record. In FY 2022, states are slated to receive billions of dollars to assist with prevention, treatment, and recovery services—these dollars will be lost with a full year CR.
  • CRs make it difficult for state and local health departments, as well as school districts, to plan activities and hire staff as they rely on predictable funding from federal agencies to carry out their work. Funding delays will hold up essential programmatic work in communities across the country.
  • CRs force grant‐funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health to adopt conservative funding policies, holding back on investments in new areas of life‐saving research and damaging existing ongoing research efforts. Unreliable and unpredictable funding streams hurt the nation’s scientific enterprise, and damage America’s competitiveness globally.
  • After a decade of almost frozen funding for education, the House and Senate Labor‐HHS‐ Education bills provided needed investments for FY 2022, starting to address long‐standing needs along the education continuum. Freezing funding at last year’s levels would leave funding for the Department of Education below the level of a decade ago in inflation‐adjusted dollars.
  • The pandemic continues to have profound impacts on teaching and learning, and while the COVID‐relief already enacted supports short‐term costs associated with the pandemic, there will be new, ongoing needs that the FY 2022 appropriations bill begins to address for students, educators, and institutions.
  • During the pandemic, the costs of child care at a center rose an estimated 47 percent, while family day care increased by 70 percent; many child care centers were forced to close. Lack of child care is keeping many women from rejoining the labor force. The House bill increases child care by $1.5 billion and Head Start by $1.4 billion; flat‐funding child care would make it impossible to rebuild capacity.
  • More than 11.8 million[1] people are unemployed or underemployed and women, people of color and people without an education past high school comprise a disproportionate amount of these workers. A CR would deny additional investments to an already historically underfunded workforce system at a time of great need.
  • As the Administration works to implement the historic investments to our nation’s infrastructure included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the demand for skilled workers in industries including construction, manufacturing, energy and related industries will continue to grow. At the same time, workers who lost their jobs in retail, hospitality and other sectors hardest hit by the pandemic are looking for opportunities to build new skills for available job opportunities. A CR denies critical investments in training programs necessary to mitigate the current skills mismatch and allow workers to access the jobs for which businesses are hiring.
  • The cost to heat a home with natural gas is projected to rise by 30 percent this winter; heating oil costs are expected to rise by 43 percent. Flat‐funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program would lead to dramatic reductions in the number of households served and the amount of help they get from LIHEAP.

The undersigned organizations call on Congress to pass a FY 2022 appropriations bill in a timely manner to avoid the damaging trend of long‐term CRs and provide needed services for the American public.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have questions about this letter, please contact:

  • Erin Will Morton, Coalition for Health Funding (emorton@dc‐crd.com);
  • Sarah Abernathy, Committee for Education Funding (abernathy@cef.org);
  • Katie Spiker, Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (KatieS@nationalskillscoalition.org); or
  • Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs (dweinstein@chn.org).

Sincerely,

Erin Will Morton
Executive Director
Coalition for Health Funding

Katie Spiker
Managing Director of Government Affairs
National Skills Coalition
Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce

Sarah Abernathy
Executive Director
Committee for Education Funding

Deborah Weinstein
Executive Director
Coalition on Human Needs

 

cc: House and Senate Appropriations Committee Members

 

[1] THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — OCTOBER 2021 – Bureau of Labor Statistics

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CEF letter urging maximum education investments in reconciliation bill

October 20, 2021

Dear Members of Congress:

We write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to express support for the transformative education investments in the Build Back Better Act. The fiscal year 2022 reconciliation package crafted by House committees includes unprecedented and long-needed investments along the education continuum, and we urge you to maintain the education investments as you negotiate the contents of the final reconciliation bill.

Education pays, both immediately and over time in terms of increased knowledge and abilities for students, an educated workforce ready to succeed in a competitive global environment, stronger communities, and a boosted economy. Wise investments in education make a difference to students, families, educators, and a society that benefits from more opportunities and a well-educated populace. Investments in education are among the best value for the government, with dividends repaid many times over even if just measured in dollars saved and returned via taxes based on earnings related to educational achievement. The Build Back Better agenda includes vital new and expanded investments covering the range of education, all of which are important.

After years of tight budget constraints that led to underinvestment in education – funding for on-going Education programs is still $7 billion below that 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms – this reconciliation bill represents the opportunity to finally invest in our future with strategic and long-term funding along the education continuum. As you craft the reconciliation bill, we urge you to maintain these vital education investments at the highest possible levels to support sustainable educational improvements that will have profound impacts on teaching and learning, supporting families and communities, and boosting the economy.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Luis Maldonado
President

Sarah Abernathy
Executive Director

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CEF Letter of Support for Education in Reconciliation Bills

September 2, 2021

Dear Members of the Senate HELP Committee and of the House Education and Labor Committee:

We write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to urge you to include the President’s requested historic investments in education in the reconciliation legislation your committees are currently drafting. This year offers an unprecedented opportunity to make long-needed investments along the education continuum, providing immediate support in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills in addition to your current undertaking to provide long-term investments in a reconciliation bill. The President’s economic agenda expands federal support for education in vital ways that will have a profound impact on teaching and learning, supporting families and communities, and boosting the economy by creating an internationally competitive workforce.

The reconciliation bill offers an opportunity to make transformative investments in education. As you know, the President’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan include new and expanded investments covering early childhood education and care; Head Start and child care provider pay; teacher development; career pathways for middle and high school students; adult education; broadband access; upgrading and building safe child care facilities, schools, and community colleges; and expanded college affordability, access, and completion including a significant investment in Pell Grants as well as free community college. CEF urges you to address the needs of the education continuum as you draft your committee’s reconciliation legislation.

The federal government has underinvested in education due to tight caps on non-defense discretionary funding in recent years. Those budget constraints led to cuts in funding for Education, where funding remained below the fiscal year 2011 level for six years and even now funding for on-going education programs is still $7 billion below that 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms. Well before the pandemic hit there was a need for greater federal investments, and that need has not gone away. CEF urges you to tackle the long-term education needs in the reconciliation bill.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Luis Maldonado
President

Sarah Abernathy
Executive Director

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CEF letter urging historic education increases for FY 2022

July 29, 2021

Dear Members of Congress:

We write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to urge you  to support the historic increase in education investments in H.R. 4502, the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022. The $102.8 billion provided for Department of Education programs is a $29.8 billion (41 percent) increase over the 2021 level and will build on the vital COVID relief that Congress already enacted to help schools, institutions of higher education, students and families, and entire communities address their increased costs and needs. This bill also contains needed increases in funding for early childhood programs, workforce training, and other education-related programs outside the Department of Education.

The federal government has underinvested in education due to tight caps on non-defense discretionary funding in recent years. Those budget constraints led to cuts in funding for Education, where funding remained below the FY 2011 level for six years and where funding for on-going education programs is still $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms. Well before the pandemic hit there was a need for greater federal investments, and that need has not gone away.

This year offers several opportunities to address long under-funded education priorities that span the education continuum from early education, K-12 education, adult and career technical education, post-secondary education, and out-of-school educational services. The education funding increases before the House this week represent a first step to provide immediate investments that will reap returns far beyond each student’s educational achievement next year.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, specialize instructional support personnel, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Luis Maldonado
President

Sarah Abernathy
Executive Director

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Letter from CEF and Labor-HHS-Education community urging high allocation for 2022 spending bill

June 10, 2021

The 292 undersigned organizations – representing the full range of stakeholders supporting the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill – thank you for enacting vital COVID-19 relief that continues to help families and communities recover from the pandemic. We ask you to build on those investments by supporting the President’s requests for historic funding increases for fiscal year (FY) 2022 and for new investments in these areas as part of the Build Back Better agenda. FY 2022 is the first chance after almost a decade under statutory discretionary spending caps for Congress to set total discretionary funding based on the nation’s needs and not on an arbitrary formula. We urge you to capitalize on this opportunity to increase the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee by at least the amount necessary to accommodate the President’s requested funding increases.

The programs and services funded by the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee have a profound impact on health and well-being, child development, educational and skills attainment, and productivity, yet they have been shortchanged in the appropriations process over the last decade. The bill has lost more than $20 billion in purchasing power over the last decade; it would take an allocation of $204 billion just to return to the FY 2010 level in inflation-adjusted dollars. Even in years when non-defense discretionary funding increased, the Subcommittee’s allocation remained flat or received only a small share of the increase although it is the largest non-defense bill. As a result, the Labor-HHS-Education bill has received a declining share of all non-defense funding, leaving important services and activities underfunded by billions of dollars.

The COVID-19 emergency funding Congress enacted is helping to address the new costs and needs caused by the pandemic on a short-term basis. Congress must now use the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill, infrastructure legislation, and other investments to provide sustained funding to address long-standing needs that existed before the pandemic and that have been worsened by the resulting recession and disruption to income and activities. The programs in the Labor-HHS-Education bill strengthen the nation by improving Americans’ lives and meeting basic needs for a broad range of constituencies. The effects of chronic underfunding have impacted programs that support education, public health, health research, job training, and social services. The effects include:

 

  • Serving 1.5 million fewer low-income people through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in 2018 than in 2010, despite growing need, because funding was reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.7 billion over this period (and cut 38 percent from FY 2010 to FY 2020, adjusted for inflation).
  • Eroding the public health infrastructure and workforce, limiting our ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and monitor ongoing health trends for new and emerging threats.
  • Hindering efforts to raise overall student achievement, close troubling achievement gaps, and increase high school graduation rates, college affordability, and college completion.
  • Leaving far too many low-income children without access to high quality preschool and other early learning opportunities.
  • Providing child care to only one in six eligible children, with child care providers paid too little.
  • Hindering people’s access to the skills, training, and education necessary to fill jobs at the backbone of our economy and businesses’ efforts to fill the jobs of the 21st Century, especially for the more than 40% of workers who are unemployed who lack access to critical education and training after high school necessary to succeed in jobs created under Build Back Better and economic recovery plans.
  • Preventing almost one million people from accessing the critical workforce and job training services that Congress overwhelmingly authorized in 2014. The U.S. invests less than every other industrialized country in active labor market policy, except for Mexico, and would need to invest $80 billion annually just to reach the median of our international peers.
  • Ignoring the needs of individuals who find themselves without a high school credential and who need a pathway back to education, employment, and active citizenship.
  • Providing inadequate resources to deal with the substance use disorder crisis.
  • Failing to keep pace with growing child welfare needs, especially as communities grapple with the destructive impact of substance use disorders on families. Child welfare services funding, for example, was cut more than 20 percent from FY 2010 to FY 2020.

Without a substantial increase in the Subcommittee’s allocation, it will be impossible to support the President’s request for new investments in important initiatives such as: public health emergency preparedness and infectious disease surveillance; targeting efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates among women of color; overcoming disruptions in learning disproportionately affecting students of color, with disabilities, and with low incomes; continuing to improve college affordability and completion; responding to the opioid epidemic; improving mental health services; and achieving the intended innovation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.

We urge you to commit to improving the lives of Americans by significantly boosting the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education bill for FY 2022 at least to match the President’s request in order to provide needed services for the American public. If you have questions about this letter, please contact:

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CEF letter to Congress supporting President’s requested education funding increases for FY 2022

April 13, 2021

Dear Members of Congress:

We write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to urge you to support the historic increase in education investments in the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 discretionary request.  The $102.8 billion requested for the Department of Education represents an important complement to the greatly appreciated COVID relief that Congress enacted to help students and families, schools, institutions of higher education, and other stakeholders along the education continuum respond to increased costs and needs caused by the pandemic.  The FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill provides Congress with the opportunity to make needed investments in ongoing and long-term education programs that have been underfunded for years, in large part because of the tight statutory caps on regular discretionary funding that will not exist for FY 2022.

Well before the pandemic hit there was a need for greater federal investments, and that need has only grown. The regular FY 2021 funding for education is more than $7 billion below the level of a decade earlier in inflation-adjusted terms. Education needs and costs have grown over those ten years, and the President’s request for a $29.8 billion increase for the Department of Education programs, along with increases for education-related programs in other agencies, is the right response.  This is the time to invest in programs that support teaching and access to education as students, educators, and other education-related staff return to in-person learning facing learning loss, new social and emotional needs, and a changed landscape of socially distanced classrooms, child care centers, and other services.

Investments in education are among the best that the government can make, reaping returns far beyond each student’s educational achievement, yet the United States invests only about 2 percent of the regular federal budget on education. The President’s larger investment would support a better educated workforce, leading to more research and innovation, economic growth, and better national security in many ways. A bigger federal education investment would help ensure access to high quality education from pre-school to higher education, fill gaps where local and state funding is insufficient or where new needs arise, and help with the costs of federally mandated educational services.  CEF asks Congress to support the President’s FY 2022 request to increase funding for the Department of Education by $29.8 billion and for additional increases for other education-related programs.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Luis Maldonado
President

Sarah Abernathy
Executive Director

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CEF letter urging Congress to increase education support for COVID-relief and FY 2021 appropriations

November 13, 2020

Dear Members of Congress:

As the 116th Congress returns for a lame duck session, we write on behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to urge you to significantly increase education funding in both an emergency relief bill to address COVID-related costs and in the final fiscal year (FY) 2021 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill. Students, schools, universities, and stakeholders along the education continuum need more support to ensure that teaching and learning can continue in a safe manner regardless of the format in which it is offered. We ask that you act quickly to help the nation’s education system as it continues to face higher costs due to the pandemic and shortfalls in state and local revenue that jeopardize education support.

Even before the pandemic hit there was a need for greater federal investments, and that need has only grown. The regular FY 2020 funding for education is more than $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms, and neither the House-passed FY 2021 appropriations bill nor the Senate Chairman’s Mark increase funding above that real level of ten years ago. The nearly $31 billion for education in the CARES Act has long been obligated, and it reflected just a down payment on meeting immediate educational needs this spring. Far more is needed quickly to make education whole.

Various members of the education community have made the case for immediate relief and support, including more than $200 billion for K-12 education plus at least $4 billion for e-rate assistance, at least $120 billion for higher education, additional support for Career Technical Education, and student loan relief policies, among others. CEF urges you to consider the importance of investments in education and the many needs of students, schools, colleges, universities, the teaching community, and the economy, and to move quickly to provide a dramatic increase in the next coronavirus relief measure and through FY 2021 appropriations.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Valerie C. Williams
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF letter urging Congress to provide large, needed supplemental education funding

July 22, 2020

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we urge Congress to quickly enact the large supplemental investments in education needed as the nation’s schools, colleges, students, and families face increased costs associated with safely ensuring teaching and learning for the upcoming academic year.  Along the education continuum, schools, institutions of higher education, providers of wraparound educational services, and others need greater federal funding to meet the additional costs of the pandemic and to cover the resulting state and local revenue shortfalls that jeopardize education.  Increased support for education will also be needed in fiscal year (FY) 2021 to continue to meet greater needs.

Even before the pandemic hit there was a need for greater federal investments, and that need has only grown; regular FY 2020 funding for education is more than $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms. The nearly $31 billion for education in the CARES Act was an important down payment on meeting immediate educational needs this spring, but far more is needed quickly to make education whole.  Students, schools, universities, and others along the continuum need support for the delivery of education regardless of the format through which it is offered; the point is to ensure that teaching and learning can continue in a safe manner.

The scope of need is wide and deep, and while there are several current pieces of legislation and proposals to provide increased federal funding to help address the needs of the education community, none includes an amount that would completely cover the new costs associated with providing education during this pandemic. CEF urges you to consider the importance of investments in education and the many needs of students, schools, colleges, universities, the teaching community, and the economy as Congress moves quickly to provide a dramatic increase in the next coronavirus relief measure and through FY 2021 appropriations.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations, and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Valerie C. Williams
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF letter urging quick action to provide new support for education

May 4, 2020

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we urge Congress to move quickly to provide the large investments in education that are needed now more than ever. Greater federal funding is vital both to address the new needs caused by the pandemic and the resulting state and local revenue shortfalls that jeopardize education, and for fiscal year (FY) 2021 to continue to meet greater needs along the education continuum.

We thank Congress for providing nearly $31 billion for education in the CARES Act as an important down payment on meeting educational needs. However, that funding in combination with regular FY 2020 appropriations will not be sufficient to allow school districts, institutions of higher education, students, and families to cover the additional costs created by the pandemic and to meet the education needs from pre-K through higher education and outside-the-classroom learning environments. Even before the pandemic hit there was a need for greater federal investments, and that need has only grown; regular FY 2020 funding for education is more than $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms.

Economic projections show that the fiscal impact of the coronavirus pandemic could be far worse than in the Great Recession, and state and local governments have already begun laying off workers as the first step of many that could jeopardize education budgets for years. The National Governors Association has requested $500 billion to replace lost state revenues, along with additional support for education and other key services. To combat the last recession’s impact on education Congress provided more than $100 billion in education funding in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvention Act along with another $10 billion for the Education Jobs Fund to protect teaching jobs at all levels of education.

Various members of the education community have made the case this month for similar types of immediate relief and support, including more than $200 billion for states for K-12 education, almost $47 billion for higher education, additional support for Career Technical Education, and student loan relief policies, among others. We urge you to consider the importance of investments in education and the many needs of students, the teaching community, and the economy as Congress moves quickly to provide a dramatic increase in the next coronavirus relief measure and through FY 2021 appropriations.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the entire education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

 

Sincerely,

Valerie C. Williams
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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Letter from CEF and Labor-HHS-Education community urging higher allocation for 2021 spending bill

April 16, 2020

The 371 undersigned organizations – representing the full range of stakeholders supporting the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill (Labor-HHS) – thank you for increasing investments in these important programs for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and urge you to significantly boost the FY 2021 allocations to address vital and on-going needs. The programs and services funded by the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee have a profound impact on health and well-being, child development, educational and skills attainment, and productivity, yet they have been shortchanged in the appropriations process over the last decade. The bill has lost almost $16 billion in purchasing power over the last decade; it would take an allocation of $199 billion just to return to the FY 2010 level in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Even in years when non-defense discretionary funding increased, the Subcommittee’s allocation remained flat or received only a small share of the increase even though it is the largest non-defense bill. Most recently, for FY 2020 the bill received just a 2.8 percent increase in funding when overall non- defense discretionary funding increased by 4.1 percent, leaving important services and activities underfunded by billions of dollars.

We recognize the constraints posed by the tight cap on non-defense discretionary spending but urge you to keep in mind the importance of funding the long-standing needs addressed by the Labor-HHS- Education bill. Its programs strengthen the nation by improving Americans’ lives and meeting basic needs for a broad range of constituencies. The effects of chronic underfunding has impacted programs that support education, public health, health research, job training, and social services. The effects include:

  • Serving 1.5 million fewer low-income people through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in 2018 than in 2010, despite growing need, because funding was reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.7 billion over this period (and cut 38 percent from FY 2010 to FY 2020, adjusted for inflation).
  • Eroding the public health infrastructure and workforce, limiting our ability to respond to public health crises and monitor health trends for new and emerging threats.
  • Hindering efforts to raise overall student achievement, close troubling achievement gaps, and increase high school graduation rates, college affordability, and college completion.
  • Leaving far too many low-income children without access to high quality preschool and other early learning opportunities.
  • Hindering efforts of our local employers to fill the approximately six million open jobs in the U.S. because too many workers lack the necessary postsecondary education and credentials to fill these positions.
  • Preventing almost one million citizens from accessing the critical workforce and job training services that Congress overwhelmingly authorized in 2014. Funds for adult and youth training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act were cut by more than 17 percent over the past decade, and the YouthBuild program was cut by 23 percent.
  • Ignoring the needs of individuals who find themselves without a high school credential and who need a pathway back to education, employment and active citizenship.
  • Failing to keep pace with growing child welfare needs, especially as communities grapple with the destructive impact of substance use disorders on families. Child welfare services funding, for example, was cut more than 20 percent from FY 2010 to FY 2020.Without a substantial increase in the Subcommittee’s allocation, it will be virtually impossible to meaningfully expand investments in important initiatives such as public health emergency preparedness and infectious disease surveillance, supporting the Every Student Succeeds Act, continuing to improve college affordability and completion, or achieving the intended innovation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.We are appreciative of Congress’s recent additional funding for Labor-HHS agencies and programs to support efforts to combat COVID-19 and acknowledge that supplemental funding is an important down- payment towards meeting immediate needs. However, we believe that the long-term impact of COVID- 19 and the outcomes of future pandemics will be catastrophic if we do not provide robust investments through annual appropriations. Therefore, we urge you to commit to improving the lives of Americans by significantly boosting the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education bill for FY 2021 to support needed services for the American public.If you have questions about this letter, please contact:
  • Sheryl Cohen, Committee for Education Funding (cohen@cef.org)
  • Angela Ostrom, Coalition for Health Funding (aostrom@dc–crd.com);
  • Katie Spiker, Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (KatieS@nationalskillscoalition.org); or
  • Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs (dweinstein@chn.org)

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CEF letter opposing education cuts in President’s FY 2021 budget

February 19, 2020

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the more than 100 education organizations, institutions, and others that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we write to thank you for increasing education funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and to strongly oppose President Trump’s FY 2021 education budget cuts along the education continuum. The budget cuts $5.7 billion (8 percent) from what Congress provided for the Department of Education for FY 2020 and reduces other education-related programs. It cuts federal support for preschoolers, students in elementary and secondary school, teachers and school leaders, and low-income Americans who rely on federal aid to go to college. The President’s budget also cuts student loans by a net $170 billion over 10 years.

Despite last year’s increase, funding for the Department of Education is currently more than $7 billion below the inflation-adjusted FY 2011 level.  This leaves many education programs insufficiently funded to fulfill their intended goals and meet student needs. The President’s budget eliminates many important investments, slashing Education funding to less than it was 10 years ago in nominal dollars.

Investments in education currently account for only about 2 percent of the federal budget, but the President’s FY 2021 budget reduces that share even further as part of its deep, multi-year cut in nondefense discretionary funding. The budget’s short-sighted cuts to the federal investment in education will weaken student achievement, worsen the opportunity gap, withdraw needed support that helps students graduate from high school ready for a career or for college, and make college less affordable and attainable.

Investing in education pays dividends immediately and in the long term. CEF urges you once again to reject the President’s harmful education cuts and instead to increase the federal education investment to maximize opportunities for students and their families, schools, and our nation.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the entire education continuum.  Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Valerie C. Williams
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF letter supporting education funding in FY 2020 appropriations

December 3, 2019

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the more than 110 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we urge you to work for the highest possible levels of education funding as Congress finalizes funding for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. We support the increased education investments that the House included in June, and not the far lower levels in the Senate proposal.

As you know, earlier this year Congress raised the FY 2020 cap on non- defense discretionary funding by a total of $27 billion. The Labor-HHS- Education bill contains 30 percent of all non-defense discretionary funding, so a proportionate share of that increase would provide the bill with an increase of more than $8 billion. We urge you to push for at least that increase to make long-needed new investments in education programs.

The Labor-HHS-Education bill has failed to get its proportional share of funding increases over recent years, and most education programs have seen their funding cut or frozen even though these programs are key to student achievement, job success, and future economic growth. In fact, current discretionary resources for the Department of Education are more than

$7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms. This leaves many education programs insufficiently funded to fulfill their intended goals and meet student needs.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the entire education continuum. Our members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

As Congress continues to negotiate the FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill, CEF urges you to increase vital investments in education across the entire education continuum, including early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, career technical and adult education, and out-of-school educational providers such as libraries and museums.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF letter expressing concern with Senate FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations proposal

October 11, 2019

Dear Senators:

On behalf of the more than 110 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we write to express our concern that the fiscal year (2020) Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill released on September 18 does not use any of the funding under the higher cap on non-defense discretionary to increase the overall investment in education.  We urge you to revise the Subcommittee’s allocation – its 302(b) funding level – to provide a substantial increase rather than its current virtual freeze at the FY 2019 level, and to then revise the bill to make long-needed new investments in education programs.   

The Committee’s party-line vote to provide a mere 0.1 percent increase for the Labor-HHS-Education bill that contains 30 percent of all non-defense discretionary spending does not reflect the bipartisan vote earlier this year to enact an overall $27 billion increase in non-defense appropriations.  Year after year, the Labor-HHS-Education bill has failed to get its proportional share of funding increases and education programs have seen their funding cut and frozen for years, even though these programs are key to student achievement, job success, and future economic growth. In fact, current FY 2019 discretionary resources for the Department of Education are below the FY2018 level and are more than $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms.  The proposed FY 2020 bill cuts net discretionary Education funding even further, with funding for most education programs frozen at the FY 2019 level.  

Years of funding cuts and freezes have left many education programs insufficiently funded to fulfill their intended goals and meet student needs.  These impacts are felt in classrooms, colleges, and education programs throughout the nation. There are education needs across the entire education continuum, including early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, career technical and adult education, and out-of-school educational providers such as libraries and museums. 

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the entire education continuum whose members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.  CEF urges you to revise the allocations to provide the Labor-HHS-Education bill at least its 30-percent proportional share of the $27 billion increase that Congress has already approved for non-defense programs, and to increase vital investments in education. 

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF letter urging increase in Senate 302(b) allocation for Labor-HHS-Education bill

September 17, 2019

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the more than 110 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we strongly oppose the Senate Appropriations Committee decision to freeze funding for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill at the FY 2019 level.  The Committee’s party-line vote to provide a mere 0.1 percent increase for the Labor-HHS-Education bill that contains one third of all non-defense discretionary spending does not reflect the bipartisan vote earlier this year to enact an overall $27 billion increase in non-defense appropriations.  Year after year, the Labor-HHS-Education bill has failed to get its proportional share of funding increases even though it supports education and other programs that are key to future economic growth, family security, and health. We urge the Senate to revise the 302(b) allocations for the 12 government funding bills to allow for necessary investments in vital education programs.

The need for investment in education programs grows each year but tight caps on non-defense discretionary funding led the federal government to under invest in education in recent years.  In fact, current FY 2019 discretionary resources for the Department of Education are below the FY 2018 level and are more than $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms.  The many years of funding cuts and freezes have left many education programs insufficiently funded to fulfill their intended goals and meet student needs.  These impacts are felt in classrooms, colleges, and education programs throughout the nation. There are education needs across the entire education continuum, including early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, career technical and adult education, and out-of-school educational providers such as libraries and museums.

A decision to freeze funding for the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill means that any increased investments in education come at the cost of offsetting cuts to the bill’s other important programs.  Such a decision is shortsighted in terms of what is necessary to develop a strong future workforce and a well-educated populace ready to compete in a fast-paced global environment.  Education funding accounts for less than 2 percent of the federal budget – an already low investment that should be increased, not frozen or cut.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the entire education continuum whose members are parents and students, teachers and school leaders, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.  CEF urges you to revise the allocations to provide the Labor-HHS-Education bill at least its one-third proportional share of the $27 billion increase that Congress has already approved for non-defense programs for FY 2020.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF letter supporting H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019

July 24, 2019

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the more than 100 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we urge you to support H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which will prevent devastating cuts to education by raising the caps on non-defense discretionary funding for fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021. Enactment of this bipartisan deal will prevent a fiscal and economic crisis over the debt ceiling and will allow Congress to proceed toward enacting FY 2020 appropriations bills in a timely manner.

CEF supported the even higher non-defense spending level the House approved earlier this year for FY 2020 that led to record education funding in the House-passed Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, H.R. 2740.  While the non-defense funding in the compromise bipartisan deal is lower than the House-passed levels, it will make it possible for Congress to increase investments in education and other core responsibilities of government where the need is growing, but funding has been stagnant or cut in recent years. Education investments account for less than two percent of the federal budget, and current funding for Department of Education programs is still $7 billion below the 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms.

Absent action to raise the caps, non-defense discretionary funding will be cut by $54 billion for next year. The possible impact of that cut was illustrated in the President’s FY 2020 budget, which cut Department of Education funding by $10.7 billion (15.1 percent), imposing drastic cuts to critical programs along the education continuum that would hurt America’s students, educators, and our economy.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan and non-profit organization reflecting the entire education continuum, from early childhood education through elementary and secondary education to higher education, career technical and adult education, and out-of-school education needs and enhancements. Our members are teachers and school leaders, parents and students, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

We urge you to support H.R. 3877 to raise the caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021, ending the austerity-level discretionary sequester and allowing for needed investments in education and other important programs.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF Supporting H.R. 2740, the omnibus appropriations bill that increases education funding for FY 2020

June 17, 2019

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the 110 organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we urge you to vote for H.R. 2740, the omnibus appropriations bill that increases education funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The increases will support vital improvements to teaching and learning along the education continuum, including early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, career technical and adult education, higher education, and other educational services outside of classrooms such as libraries and museums.

The federal government has underinvested in education in recent years, constrained by tight caps on non-defense discretionary funding. Those budget limitations led to cuts in funding for the Department of Education, where funding remained below the FY 2011 level for six years and is still $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms. Even though Congress has voted to raise the caps since their onset, the reality of federal investment in education remains one of chronic underinvestment that has left many programs insufficiently funded to fulfill their intended goals and meet student standards.  Given past funding limitations, even the increases proposed for some of these programs for FY 2020 might not meet demand or support the needs of a 21st century economy.

CEF continues to request Congress to move quickly to enact an increase in the non-defense discretionary cap for FY 2020 that is at least the level set in H.R. 2021 and that was assumed in the appropriations levels approved by the House this Spring.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan organization reflecting the entire education continuum.  Our members are teachers and school leaders, parents and students, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others who share the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF Letter Opposing New Pell Grant Rescission Request

May 20, 2019

The Honorable Richard Shelby, Chairman
The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Vice Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nita Lowey, Chairwoman
The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairs and Ranking Member:

On behalf of the 110 organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we write to oppose the additional deep cut to federal education funding in the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget amendment submitted to Congress on May 13.  The President’s budget had already cut discretionary resources for the Department of Education by $8.8 billion below the 2019 level, and the budget amendment would deepen the cut to $10.7 billion – a cut of 15 percent.  More than one third of the total cut is a rescission of $3.9 billion that Congress has already provided for Pell Grants, the largest source of federal grant aid to help low-income students obtain a post-secondary education.  CEF urges Congress to increase, not cut, federal investments in education – investments that are among the best the nation can make, leading to greater economic growth, a strong national defense, and an internationally competitive workforce.

Costs for the Pell Grant program can vary widely from year to year, and as recently as 2011 the program posted a shortfall of nearly $2 billion. While Congress increased appropriations and dedicated offsets from mandatory spending cuts to secure the program in 2012 and 2013, it also made multiple changes to reduce the size of the program by limiting eligibility and student benefits – changes that resulted in tens of thousands of students losing access to Pell Grants. Over the last three years, $1.9 billion that had been provided for Pell Grants has been rescinded.  Enacting the Administration’s request for an additional rescission of $3.9 billion would jeopardize the Pell Grant program if economic conditions change or if the benefit is increased under continued tight discretionary spending caps.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan organization reflecting the entire education continuum, including early childhood education through elementary and secondary education to higher education, career technical and adult education, and out-of-school education needs and enhancements. Our members are teachers and school leaders, parents and students, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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CEF Letter to House Appropriations Committee Leadership Supporting Education Increases in FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Bill

May 6, 2019

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey, Chairwoman
The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee
H-305 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro, Chairwoman
The Honorable Tom Cole, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
House Appropriations Committee
2358-B Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515

Dear Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole:

On behalf of the 110 organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we write to thank you for the increased investments in education provided in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill that the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee reported out on April 30th.  We appreciate that the House approved a meaningful increase in appropriations for the coming year, and that the Appropriations Committee increased the allocation for this bill by $11.7 billion. That total represents one third of the $34 billion increase in non-defense discretionary funding Chairwoman Lowey announced she will be providing for FY 2020, reflecting that the important programs in this bill account for one third of all federal non-defense discretionary funding.

The federal government has underinvested in education in recent years, constrained by tight caps on non-defense discretionary funding. Those budget limitations led to cuts in funding for the Department of Education, where funding remained below the FY 2011 level for six years and is still $7 billion below the FY 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms.  The resulting funding cuts and freezes continue to affect vital programs along the education continuum, including early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, career technical and adult education, higher education, and other educational services outside of classrooms, such as libraries and museums.  Congress has voted to raise the caps since their onset. Even with these votes, however, the reality of federal investment in education remains one of chronic underinvestment that has left many programs insufficiently funded to fulfill their intended goals and meet student standards.  Given past funding limitations, even the increases proposed for some of these programs in FY 2020 might not meet demand or support the needs of a 21st century economy.

CEF urges the full Appropriations Committee to maintain or increase the education funding provided in the FY 2020 bill. CEF continues to request Congress to move quickly to enact an increase in the non-defense discretionary cap for FY 2020 that is at least the level set in H.R. 2021 and that was assumed in the appropriations levels approved by the House last month.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan organization reflecting the entire education continuum.  Our members are teachers and school leaders, parents and students, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others who share the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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Letter from CEF supporting H.R. 2021, the Investing for the People Act of 2019

April 9, 2019

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the more than 100 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we write to support H.R. 2021, the Investing for the People Act of 2019. The bill will prevent devastating cuts to education and other vital government programs by raising the caps on non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, allowing for critically important annual increases for NDD programs.

Importantly, enactment of H.R. 2021 will allow Congress to begin the appropriations process for FY 2020 with a realistic top line. The bill’s higher cap on NDD funding and any additional cap adjustments will allow Congress to increase investments in education and other areas where the need is only growing but funding has been stagnant or cut in recent years. Education investments currently account for less than two percent of the federal budget, and funding for Department of Education programs is currently $7 billion below the 2011 level in inflation-adjusted terms.

Absent action to raise the existing limit, NDD funding will be cut by $54 billion in FY 2020. The possible impact of that cut was illustrated in the President’s budget request, which cut the Department of Education by $8.8 billion (12.5 percent), imposing drastic cuts to vital services along the education continuum that would hurt America’s students and educators as well as our economy.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan organization reflecting the entire education continuum, from early childhood education through elementary and secondary education to higher education, career technical and adult education, and out-of-school education needs and enhancements. Our members are teachers and school leaders, parents and students, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

We urge you to support legislation such as H.R. 2021 that will raise the non-defense discretionary caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 to allow for vital investments, including increased support for education programs.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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Letter from CEF and Labor-HHS-Education community urging higher allocation for 2020 spending bill

April 1, 2019

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Vice Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Chair
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kay Granger
Ranking Member
Committee On Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The 550 undersigned organizations—representing the full range of stakeholders supporting the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill (Labor-HHS)—urge you to significantly boost the fiscal year (FY) 2020 allocation for that Subcommittee to address vital and long-neglected needs. The programs and services funded by the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee have a profound impact on health and well-being, child development, educational and skills attainment, and productivity, yet they have been overlooked in the appropriations process over the last decade. Even in years when non-defense discretionary funding increased, the Subcommittee’s allocation remained flat or received only a small share of the increase. Most recently, for FY 2019 the bill received just a 0.6 percent increase in funding even though overall non-defense discretionary funding increased by 3 percent, shortchanging important services and activities by billions of dollars.

To provide workable allocations for the FY 2020 appropriations bills, Congress will need to raise the cap on non-defense discretionary spending substantially above the FY 2019 level, both to support ongoing services across the government and to accommodate the increased cost of the decennial census and the VA Choice program. We urge you to take that opportunity to address the long-standing needs of the Labor-HHS-Education bill, whose programs strengthen the nation by improving Americans’ lives and meeting basic needs for a broad range of constituencies. The bill has lost almost $16 billion in purchasing power over the last decade; it would take an allocation of $194 billion just to return to the FY 2010 level in inflation-adjusted dollars.

  • The effects of chronic underfunding for the Labor-HHS-Education bill has impacted programs that support education, public health, health research, job training, and social services. The effects include:
  • Serving 1.5 million fewer low-income people through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in 2018 than in 2010, despite growing need, because funding was reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.7 billion over this period.
  • Eroding the public health infrastructure and workforce, limiting our ability to respond to public health crises and monitor health trends for new and emerging threats.
  • Hindering efforts to raise overall student achievement, close troubling achievement gaps, and increase high school graduation rates, college affordability, and college completion.
  • Leaving far too many low-income children without access to high quality preschool and other early learning opportunities.
  • Hindering efforts of our local employers to fill the approximately six million open jobs in the U.S. because too many workers lack the necessary postsecondary education and credentials to fill these positions.
  • Preventing almost one million citizens from accessing the critical workforce and job training services that Congress overwhelmingly authorized in 2014.
  • Ignoring the needs of individuals who find themselves without a high school credential and who need a pathway back to education, employment and active citizenship.

Without a substantial increase in the Subcommittee’s allocation, it will be virtually impossible to meaningfully expand investments in important initiatives—such as public health emergency preparedness and infectious disease surveillance, implementing the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, continuing to improve college affordability and completion, or achieving the intended innovation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA)—without deep cuts in other equally important initiatives.

We urge you to commit to improving the lives of Americans by significantly raising the cap on non-defense discretionary spending above the FY 2019 level and then boosting the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education bill for FY 2020 to support needed services to the American public.

If you have questions about this letter, please contact:

  • Sheryl Cohen, Committee for Education Funding (cohen@cef.org)
  • Emily Holubowich, Coalition for Health Funding (eholubowich@dc-crd.com)
  • Katie Spiker, Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (KatieS@nationalskillscoalition.org); or
  • Debbie Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs (dweinstein@chn.org)

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CEF Letter Opposing the Senate Budget Committee FY2020 Budget Resolution

March 27, 2019

Dear Senate Budget Committee members:

On behalf of the more than 100 education organizations and institutions that are members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), we write to oppose the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget resolution proposed by Chairman Enzi because of the drastic cuts to education it would require.

The budget resolution slashes non-defense discretionary funding down to the sequester-level caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021, and then freezes funding at that very low level for the next three years.  Those cuts are far deeper than those Congress rejected when it voted to raise caps every year after they went into effect in FY 2013.  In addition to cutting discretionary spending, the budget resolution eliminates $72 billion over five years in mandatory funding for education and social services programs, with half of that likely to be the funding that Congress has already enacted in law for Pell Grants and most of the rest likely to be cuts to student loans.

The tight budget constraints of recent years have left many education needs unfilled, and the deep cuts necessary to comply with this budget resolution would hurt America’s students and teachers as well as our economy as a whole. While the Chairman’s budget resolution does not include details on which education programs would be cut, it matches the total for non-defense discretionary funding in the President’s budget, which cut the Department of Education by $8.8 billion (12.5 percent) for FY 2020, imposing drastic cuts to vital services along the education continuum.

Federal education funding has stagnated over recent years despite the increasing demand as the nation’s student body grows. The National Center for Education Statistics reports increasing enrollment in all elementary and secondary schools as well as in degree-granting post-secondary education. In recent years Congress has reauthorized both the nation’s main elementary and secondary education law and the career education law, making a clear statement about the need to provide support in these areas, as well as others. While state and local governments provide the bulk of elementary and secondary education funding, federal investments play a key role along the education continuum. Unfortunately, net federal funding for the Department of Education declined for FY 2019 despite the bipartisan agreement to increase non-defense discretionary spending. In total, spending on education accounts for just 2 percent of the federal budget even though schools want to do more to meet the needs of all their students, costs make college unattainable to many, and graduates are now burdened by over $1.3 trillion of student loan debt.

CEF, the nation’s oldest and largest education coalition, is a non-partisan organization reflecting the entire education continuum, from early childhood education through elementary and secondary education to higher education, career and adult education, and out-of-school education needs and enhancements. Our members are teachers and school leaders, parents and students, counselors, school board members, universities and school districts, associations and others with the common goal of ensuring that education is adequately funded.

We urge you to reject the Chairman’s budget resolution and instead support legislation to raise the non-defense discretionary caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 to allow for continued investments above the 2019 levels, including an increased investment in education programs.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Giesecke
President

Sheryl Cohen
Executive Director

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