House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Republicans
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.

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Dear Colleague

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2009

$1.84 Trillion and Counting…
Amid Record Deficits, House Set to Debate $40 Billion Foray into School Construction

Dear Colleague:

Tomorrow, the House is expected to vote on H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act. This controversial legislation follows a similar initiative included in the government stimulus package enacted earlier this year, seemingly part of a larger effort to federalize the building and maintenance of school facilities.

As we prepare to debate whether now is the time to divert an estimated $40 billion in taxpayer funds to school building modernization, maintenance, and repair – or whether this is an appropriate role for the federal government at all – I wanted to draw your attention to new deficit projections showing that our nation is in even more dire economic straits than we previously knew. The New York Times has the story:

The budget office’s revised deficit projections bring the expected shortfall this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, to $1.84 trillion, from a February projection of $1.75 trillion. For the 2010 fiscal year, the new estimate is $1.26 trillion, up from $1.17 trillion.

Measured against the economy, this year’s shortfall would be 12.9 percent of the gross domestic product. Next year’s deficit would be 8.5 percent of G.D.P. Even before the revisions, the deficit projections were the highest in more than 60 years, since the end of World War II.

It is hard to imagine a more fundamental responsibility of states and local communities than the building and upkeep of schools. Federal interference will not only saddle our children and grandchildren with an additional $40 billion in debt, it will also tie the hands of local officials by imposing complex new mandates on everything from the types of floors that can be installed to the wages that will be paid to contractors.

Protect state and local control. Keep federal education funds focused on students, not buildings. Vote NO on H.R. 2187. For more information on the bill, please contact the Education and Labor Committee Republican staff at x5-6558.

Sincerely,

/s/

Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)
Senior Republican Member
Education and Labor Committee