Priorities in the 116th Congress
Increase the federal education investment
CEF has begun a new advocacy campaign to increase the investment in education from 2% to 5% of the federal budget. “5¢ Makes Sense” provides the evidence behind the effectiveness of investing in education all along the continuum — early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, career and lifelong learning, and educational enhancements such as libraries, music, and other services that help students learn. It advocates for increasing the education investment to 5¢ of every federal budget dollar.
Work with Congressional leaders and the Administration
In the current tight budget environment, CEF is reaching out to the Trump Administration and Congressional leaders in both political parties to bring home the importance of the federal education investment. Our more than 100 member organizations are ready to serve as resources for decision makers who want information about what works and why. CEF meets with Members of Congress in DC, and will bring local members to roundtables in Senators’ and Representatives’ home offices, as well.
The inadequate federal investment in education is due in part to the tight constraints of the discretionary spending caps that were lowered to austerity levels since sequestration went into effect in fiscal year 2013. Congress has struggled to pass appropriations bills at the low levels required by the caps on non-defense discretionary (NDD) and defense discretionary spending, and in fact has raised the defense and NDD caps by equal amounts for four of the five years the sequester has been in effect. The sequester for the coming year cuts NDD spending by $3 billion in nominal terms and $16 billion in inflation-adjusted terms. Any increase in funding in one area will lead to even deeper offsetting cuts in other areas.
CEF is a co-chair of NDD United, an alliance of hundreds of organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans.
Maintain parity between non-defense and defense spending
It is important that if Congress cannot entirely lift the sequester it maintains the concept of parity in how it treats defense and NDD programs. NDD programs run the gamut from education to the FBI, from criminal justice to environmental protection.