A GOP-backed “fiscal cliff” compromise bill, which is opposed by the National School Boards Association (NSBA), appeared to be in jeopardy when Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives abruptly cancelled a vote Thursday evening.
NSBA sent a letter to all House members of urging them to strike down the Budget Control Act, more commonly known as part of the “Plan B” legislation. The Budget Control Act would ease some of the tax hikes that are slated to occur on Jan. 2, 2013, but would also significantly cut K-12 education and other programs. The Washington Post reported that House leaders were unable to secure enough votes for passage.
The act of sequestration, across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled as part of last year’s deficit reduction plan, would cut all federal education programs about 8.2 percent, or $82,000 for every $1 million a school district receives in federal funds. According to the Post, the lack of a vote “throws into chaos efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff, just 11 days before more than $500 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts are set to take effect. Unless Congress acts, many economists predict the nation will again descend into a recession.”
The bill “would impose record budget cuts to elementary and secondary education programs, which would be well beyond the reductions legislated in the Budget Control Act,” the NSBA letter states. “From deep cuts to Title I grants for disadvantaged students and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to mandatory reductions that would eliminate automatic eligibility of 280,000 low-income students for free school lunches, these measures would be a regression to the progress our school districts have made in student achievement.”
NSBA is continuing to monitor any action by Congress. Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene on Dec. 27. For more information and resources, visit NSBA’s Stop Sequestration website.