U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today detailed the impact of looming automatic budget cuts, saying they would force schools to lay off teachers and eliminate services for students while indiscriminately reducing programs that serve Americans of all ages.
“Essentially, we’re playing chicken with the lives of the American people – our schools, communities, small businesses, farms, public safety, infrastructure and national security,” Secretary Duncan told members of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. “If we don’t work together to solve this problem, it further erodes what little faith remains in our elected leadership to put partisan politics aside and do the right thing for children and families.”
If Congress fails to create a long-term plan to reduce the budget deficit by the end of the year, across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration will go into effect on almost every discretionary program, reducing funding for education, defense, public safety and all other federal agencies.
Duncan urged Congress to work with President Obama, who has submitted a plan that includes $4 trillion in deficit reductions and calls for targeted cuts in spending.
“We have tightened our belts in a responsible way,” Duncan said. “Most importantly, the President’s plan is a long-term fix. It will put an end to the see-saw budgeting that leaves state and local officials wondering if they can count on the federal government to be a partner with them on education and other vital programs.”
Read more of the U.S. Dept. of Ed press release HERE.