Call To Action: Contact Your Congressional Office and Tell Them to Stop Sequestration

On Wednesday, Nov. 13 the Budget Conference held its first meeting, beginning work on what will hopefully be the replacement of the harmful sequestration cuts. The Budget Conference, a group of 29 lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, will work collaboratively to establish the overall spending levels in the FY14 budget. In order to spread the message that student aid programs cannot afford any additional cuts, NASFAA and a coalition of like-minded education associations have identified the week of Nov. 18 as the “make or break” week to influence and educate members of the Budget Conference. Along those lines, we have prepared a letter for you to send to your local congressional office.

Download one of these form letters, complete the indicated areas with information from your institution, and then send the letter to your representative or senator. We have included two versions of the letter, one for the House and one for the Senate. For help finding the contact information for your member(s) of Congress, please use the following resources: 

House: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ 

Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm 

A brief refresher on why this is so important, and why we need your voices to be heard in as many congressional offices as possible: the federal government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will expire on January 15. Unless Congress comes to an agreement on a federal budget before then, we will continue operating under a CR and sequestration will continue to slash investments in education. Education programs have been cut multiple times in the past two and a half years, including multiple cuts to student aid funding, which led to reduced funding for campus-based programs (nearly $90 million and 100,000 fewer awards between the Federal Work Study and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant programs) and increased loan fees (a cost of $293 million to students). These waves of cuts have come at a time when enrollments have increased on campuses nation-wide, and the need for strong student aid programs has never been greater. 

Congress must stop abdicating its responsibility and pass a budget which sets the fiscal priorities for the nation and education should be one of them. By reversing these damaging and thoughtless sequestration cuts, Congress will demonstrate their intent to invest in America’s future through education; an investment that leads directly to more, and better, jobs and a robust economy.  

We need your help in telling Congress to stop cutting education and invest in our nation’s students and campuses. By sending a letter, you can do your part to tell Congress to prioritize federal investments in education by replacing sequestration with a sensible and sustainable fiscal plan that stops cuts to the federal financial aid programs.  

Please note, if your institution is in the state or district of one of the members of the Budget Conference (listed below), we think it would especially beneficial if you could reach out to their office and submit the letter referenced above. Please locate your Representative or Senator on the list below and contact them as soon as possible!
 
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)                Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)   Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)   Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)   Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)   Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)   Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)   Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Angus King (I-ME)   Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)   Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)   Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)   Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)   Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)   Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)   Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)     

 

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