Friday, November 18, 2005

Statement by American Federation of Teachers President on Today's House of Passage of GOP Reconciliation Bill

To: National Desk, Education Reporter
Contact: George Jackson of the American Federation of Teachers, 202-393-4275, gjackson@aft.org
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by Edward J. McElroy, president, American Federation of Teachers, on today's U.S. House of Representatives passage of the GOP Reconciliation Bill:
"Under the pretext of fiscal responsibility, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a sweeping five-year budget plan that drastically cuts vital programs for the poor, students and working families. The hypocrisy of the GOP is on full display as it touts what it considers to be a deficit reduction plan while simultaneously proposing nearly $60 billion in new tax cuts for the wealthy. Once again, the Republican Party's passion for filling the pockets of the rich trumps the needs of America's working families and most vulnerable citizens
"Following the embarrassing defeat they suffered yesterday on the FY 2006 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill, the GOP leadership now wants to save face by ramming through draconian legislation to pay for $59 billion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. Its 'plan' is to save the government $50 billion by slashing programs for the poor, including cuts to food stamps; limiting Medicaid healthcare for poor children, the disabled and elderly Americans; and adding almost $6,000 to the cost of financial aid for college students.
"The budget fight is not over. The AFT's national and local efforts brought pressure on House leadership to produce a version of the bill that reduces the proposed cuts by $6 billion. As the House and Senate attempt to reconcile their versions of the bill before adjournment, the AFT will continue to advocate against any legislation that sacrifices programs for America's needy and passes the savings to those who need them least."
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The AFT represents 1.3 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; nurses and healthcare workers; and federal, state and local government employees.
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/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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