BCTGM International staff joined hundreds of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and AFSCME members and Democratic members of Congress outside the U.S. Capitol to rally in opposition to Republicans’ Trumpcare bill and budget proposal which would strip funding from students, teachers, nurses and health workers. The rally was organized by the AFT and led by AFT President Randi Weingarten.
Congressional speakers denounced the proposed budget cuts, which would fall heavily on schools and other vital social services. The education budget proposed by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, would devastate schoolchildren by slashing $9 billion from public education, $800 billion from Medicaid and $143 million that helps students afford college. The budget would take a meat cleaver to programs like after-school and summer programs, efforts to reduce class sizes, mentoring for early-career teachers, child nutrition programs and community schools.
The Senate and House healthcare bills would take away resources for schools serving students with special needs, end healthcare coverage for more than 20 million people, raise costs for many others, limit healthcare access for the most medically vulnerable in the country and tax employer-based health insurance plans—which is essentially a tax on middle-class Americans—all to provide major tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.
House Minority Leader Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) addressed the rally, calling on the Administration to invest in public education – not cut it.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) proclaimed to the union crowd, “I’m here today with one simple message: no budget cuts for public education!”
House Minority Leader Pelosi noted that when asked about the three most important issues facing the economy, she always says the same thing, “Our children, our children, our children. Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a clean safe environment in which they can thrive, a world at peace in which they can reach their fulfillment. What we have in this budget cuts their education, undermines their health care, and cuts Medicaid.
“It is a terrible, terrible budget, but it is a path for them. A path to bring up a tax bill that will give tax breaks to the richest people in America at the expense of investments in the future of our children: their health, their education, and their well-being,” Pelosi concluded.
In addition to Congressional leaders, Weingarten, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke out against the Trump budget. The union members and labor leaders lobbied members of Congress after the rally.