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Dems lament – A credit card for war, but no cash for teachers

Once again, war is being paid for with a credit card while investments in our children’s future are tossed aside. These investments – $10 billion for teacher jobs, $1 billion for summer youth employment, $5 billion for Pell grants, $701 million for border security – were cut from the war funding bill coming to the U.S. House of Representatives floor despite being fully paid for and not adding to the budget deficit. They have been jettisoned in favor of further borrowed war spending. The bill doesn’t include anything to maintain first responder, police or firefighter positions despite the dramatic need for those jobs in every community in America. We believe this is fiscal insanity and a moral tragedy.

Consider the following: Despite widespread shortfalls in education funding around the country, the $10 billion that would have saved 140,000 teacher jobs across the nation – all of it offset – has been cut. The $37.12 billion in war funding, on the other hand, is not paid for. Every single penny adds directly to the national debt. This is not good for national security. This is continuing a failed policy at the exact wrong time.

The bill before the House denies our children the right to an education and takes away their future earning power. It also adds to the economic burden they will eventually have to bear. This is a moral outrage. We find it unacceptable that this Congress places a greater priority on foreign wars than urgent domestic needs. We have compounded our moral short-sightedness with utter fiscal irresponsibility.

After the dramatic revelations of this week, it is clearer than ever just how daunting a task our troops face in Afghanistan. We are trying to build a modern, democratic state in an area divided by tribal and ethnic identities that has successfully resisted foreign powers for centuries. We are fighting for one side in a civil war, killing civilians, building resentment toward the United States, and making it nearly impossible to gain the popular support that could make success possible.
As multiple reports have shown, pervasive corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan siphons resources so that even worthwhile projects are doomed to fail. This is not how we want to spend borrowed money. Our people at home are facing a difficult job market, lower funding for education, and a shattered Gulf economy that needs significant attention. We need to prioritize and make the right choices, not continue as before out of inertia or a lack of urgency. We urge the president to consider how this spending really improves the lives of Americans and how it can be spent in more productive ways.

- Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz.
- Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
- Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.
- Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.
- Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio
- Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.
- Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif.
- Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill.
- Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.
- Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.
- Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas
- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.
- Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Me.
- Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.
- Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif.
- Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.
- Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif.
- Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.

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