AFT President Weingarten Reacts to President Biden’s Budget
Sarah Hager Mosby
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget, which will help Americans get back to post-pandemic normalcy by creating a better life at home and supporting safety abroad:
“This budget makes good on President Biden’s commitment in his recent State of the Union address to invest in the American people. It includes $1 billion to help schools hire additional counselors, school psychologists and other health professionals to address the mental health crisis; more than double the investment in Title I funding for schools that serve low-income families;, an increase of nearly $3 billion for federal programs for students with disabilities; and a $400 million increase for the Education Department’s Full-Service Community Schools Program, which aims to bring healthcare and other social service programs onto school campuses. It’s clear Biden is making important investments in helping our public schools meet the needs of every child and provide more opportunities for students to recover and thrive after two years of disruption.
“The proposal also reaches our colleges and universities; it would make higher education a more accessible reality by increasing the maximum Pell Grant by nearly $2,000. And it would invest in our healthcare infrastructure by increasing funding to support the healthcare workforce—including continued funding to reduce burnout of healthcare workers and support much-needed maternal and rural health initiatives. This budget also invests $81.7 billion over five years to bolster pandemic preparedness and biodefense as we move into the next stage of the pandemic, to help ensure COVID-19 does not disrupt our daily lives but also to prepare the nation for any new variants that may emerge.
“Importantly, the budget also helps create a more fair and just economic system that rewards work, not wealth, by creating a ‘billionaire minimum income tax’ so that the very wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and nurses. Today’s proposal highlights Biden’s commitment to the American people and our overall recovery, and it turns the aspiration for a better life for ourselves, our children and our communities into action. We look forward to working with Congress to secure these important investments in a final budget later this year.”
# # # #
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.