AFT President Randi Weingarten on Federal Budget Bill
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement as the House of Representatives readies a vote to raise the debt ceiling and avert a global economic disaster:
“Tonight, we breathe a sigh of relief as the House prepares to vote to avoid a crisis manufactured by extremists who for months held the nation for ransom for cheap political ends.
“President Biden deserves tremendous credit for steering the ship to avert a catastrophic recession, the loss of millions of jobs and the gutting of retirement savings. He’s spent the last two years rebuilding America, while MAGA Republicans threatened our full faith and credit in a not-so-secret attempt to win back the White House.
“Let’s be clear: We cannot overstate the intransigence and obsequiousness of those members who would risk workers’ livelihoods and gouge popular social programs to pander to their wealthy supporters.
“This deal avoids the $130 billion in draconian cuts to education and other critical public services. It rejects deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the president’s student debt plan and ignores far-right demands to undo progress on climate change. Yet, we remain troubled by other aspects of the bill.
“These include new restrictions on SNAP food assistance, impacting thousands of vulnerable adults, and the slashing of resources allocated to the IRS to pursue tax evaders, while maintaining tax breaks for billionaires.
“We believe that Congress should have passed a clean bill raising the debt limit weeks ago. But in the face of an imminent default that would raise costs on everything from car loans to mortgage payments, both legislative chambers must approve this deal to allow the federal government to pay its bills and avoid massive harm to the students, families, workers and communities that need and rely on government to work for them.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.