Washington—AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement in response to President Obama's budget proposal.
"President Obama's budget lays out a number of critical investments that will put Americans back to work, rebuild the middle class, and strengthen our communities and public schools. But we have serious concerns about any proposal that jeopardizes the Social Security and Medicare benefits seniors, veterans and disabled Americans rely on to get by. Such cuts are irresponsible and untimely, and put our economic recovery at risk.
"America is strongest when we live up to our shared responsibility to create good jobs, expand the middle class and ensure that all children have the opportunity to not only dream their dreams, but achieve them. President Obama has issued a bold proposal to provide free, public preschool to every 4-year-old and expand high school opportunities to be more hands-on and more focused on thinking rather than testing, like those at P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) in Brooklyn, N.Y. The president's budget also invests in our public schools and students through proposals to rehire teachers and keep them in the classroom, and to preserve Pell Grants to make college more affordable and accessible. And expanded mental health services will help keep our schools and communities safe and ensure children who need extra support can get what they need.
"This moment also requires real investment in putting Americans back to work, and the president has offered tangible proposals to create good jobs while also rebuilding and upgrading our aging infrastructure. And to keep our families healthy, this budget preserves funding for community health centers, strengthens primary care and reproductive health services for low-income women, expands training for healthcare workers, and increases funding for healthcare professionals in underserved areas. The president is also proposing a balanced approach to roll back the disastrous impacts of sequestration and raise revenue by closing loopholes and asking the wealthiest Americans to do their part.
"The American people deserve a budget that accelerates our economic recovery and lays the foundation for an economy built on shared prosperity and opportunity. Congress should take immediate action on these critical investments in our children, our schools and our nation while rejecting any cuts to Social Security and Medicare."