AFT's Weingarten: "We cannot cut our way to prosperity."
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement on President Obama's remarks regarding the effect of the sequestration cuts.
"The AFT applauds President Obama for standing up for the middle class, working families and our most vulnerable. The president is correctly insisting on a balanced approach to head off calamitous consequences if across-the-board sequestration cuts are imposed.
"As we continue to pull ourselves out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is imperative that we avoid any action that would cost jobs, impede educational opportunity, reduce benefits for seniors, hurt the nation's safety net for the most vulnerable among us, and reduce revenue by extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans. We cannot cut our way to prosperity.
"If sequestration takes effect, the cuts in education and healthcare would be devastating. Nearly every education program funded by the federal government would see an 8.2 percent cut. The nearly $4.8 billion cut from the U.S. Department of Education budget would cause harmful reductions in classrooms across America, including the Head Start program for low-income children and educator layoffs.
"Sequestration would result in dangerous consequences for healthcare. Medicare and Medicaid cuts would threaten patient access to healthcare, and we would see the loss of hundreds of thousands of nursing and other healthcare-related jobs.
"The election is over, and the American people have spoken. Congress should work with the president to figure out a balanced deficit-reduction package that includes revenue increases and protects entitlements but does not destroy investments in education, healthcare and other areas that help our economy grow and keep our nation strong."