AFT President Weingarten Says President Biden’s Budget Will Provide a Lifeline to American Families
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget proposal:
“Time and again, President Joe Biden delivers on his promise to fight for American families, his commitment to fairness for all Americans, and his belief that everyone should have the freedom and opportunity to build a better life. This budget reflects those priorities and values by helping people continue to rebuild. It focuses on continuing to grow the economy, sustain our climate, drive down costs and the deficit, and target support for the initiatives and programs that affect our daily lives, like good jobs, good schools, good healthcare, and retirement programs like Social Security and Medicare. And this is all paid for by making wealthy Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
“The proposal includes $2.2 billion in increased funding for Title I schools that serve low-income families, so every child has the opportunity to attend a great public school, regardless of where they live. It invests $368 million in community schools that provide wraparound services, so schools can be community hubs where students and families can access educational services as well as healthcare, career and language supports, and desperately needed mental health supports. It addresses the national teacher shortage by providing grants to institutions that train educators; adds $22 billion for early childhood and education programs, so children can receive quality care and instruction without their parents worrying about how they can afford it; and provides $13 billion for Head Start programs, including boosting teacher and staff pay. It also addresses the need to teach history and civics by pledging $73 million to support American history and civics education programs to help ensure our students become engaged citizens. And it invests in higher education, making college a more accessible reality by investing $500 million in new grant programs for free community college.
“Critically, this proposal also protects the promise of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, helping to ensure aging Americans, who have counted on these programs, are able to retire with dignity and security. It even extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 25 years by raising the tax rate on the program for those who make more than $400,000 a year. And it puts money in the pockets of Americans by further lowering prescription costs, including capping insulin prices so that patients can have access to lifesaving medications.
“Importantly, today’s proposal highlights Biden’s commitment to do what’s best for the country. We look forward to working with Congress to secure these important investments in a final budget later this year.”
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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.