News Releases

Murray Highlights Impact of Automatic Cuts to Education; Urges Balanced and Bipartisan Replacement

Jul 25 2012

At Senate hearing, report on the impact of sequestration on families and communities is released

WATCH the hearing

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray attended a Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the impact of sequestration on federal education programs. At the hearing, Senator Murray focused on the impacts these cuts would have on communities around the country, and urged her colleagues to work with her on a balanced and bipartisan replacement that doesn’t simply call on the middle class and most vulnerable families to bear the burden alone.

“Here in D.C we hear a lot about the impact of the defense cuts—they seem to get most of the attention,” Senator Murray said at the hearing.  But across America, all the automatic cuts would be deeply damaging to families and communities.”

Today, Chairman Harkin released a sobering report entitled “Under Threat: Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services.” The report cites CBO estimates that show federal education programs will take a 7.8 percent cut in 2013. According to National Education Association estimates, this would mean a $4.5 billion cut to education, funding below 2003 levels, and a negative impact to 8.97 million students. Additionally, more than 74,000 education jobs could be lost across the country. Almost every education program would see cuts, including Title I, IDEA, Impact Aid, Head Start, CCDBG, afterschool funding, Perkins Career and Technical Education, Work-Study, and TRIO.

Senator Harkin’s report also estimates states and communities would lose $2.7 billion in federal funding from just three critical education programs alone – Title I, Special Education Grants to States, and Head Start.  These  programs serve a combined 30.7 million children. Nationwide, cuts to these three programs would force 46,349 employees to either lose their jobs or rely on cash-strapped States and localities to pick up their salaries instead.

In Washington state, sequestration could mean:

  • $17.7 million in Title I funding cut, with more than 17,000 students losing services
  • More than 2,000 students losing access to afterschool programs
  • More than 5,500 students losing funding to support rural schools
  • $18.8 million in IDEA funding cut, which would negatively affect 10,500 children with special needs
  • Almost 40,000 student losing out on access to career and technical education programs
  • A $9.2 million reduction in Head Start funding, which would cut services to almost 1,000 low-income children

At the hearing, Senator Murray submitted a letter to the record that was sent to members of Congress signed by nearly 3,000 national, state, and local organizations in the nondefense discretionary (NDD) community, urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.”  More about the letter HERE.

Also during the hearing, Murray questioned Arne Duncan, Secretary of the Department of Education. Senator Murray asked Secretary Duncan to discuss his thoughts on what sequestration, coupled with stagnant appropriations for education, would mean for our nation’s global competitiveness.