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Remarks for Budget Press Call

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I’m pleased to speak to you today to announce and highlight President Biden’s Education Budget for Fiscal Year 2025.

From day one, President Biden has fought tooth and nail to deliver the resources to our schools, colleges and universities – not only to recover from the pandemic, but to achieve academic excellence and position our students to compete globally.

His budget this year is no different. This is a budget that unapologetically strives to raise the bar for education in America and position our nation to lead the world for years to come.

And it stands in stark contrast to the staggeringly reckless cuts to education others have championed.

It calls for $82.4 billion in targeted and calculated investments to accelerate learning and success – from the earliest years through higher education — within the caps of a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit.

It makes significant new investments to address the academic, mental health, and other needs of our students across schools and institutions.

It increases support for children with disabilities and multilingual learners.

It invests in educator recruitment, retention, and professional learning.

And it invests in postsecondary success for all students, improving college affordability, retention, and completion, including through free community college and increased student supports.

Now, you’ll see that this budget request represents an overall 4% increase from last year’s enacted levels, in keeping with the contours of the agreement from the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

I could not emphasize more strongly: it’s important to put that number in context.

This is a budget request that comes on top of three years of historic investments proposed by President Biden and delivered – with support from many in Congress – to raise the bar for our schools and across America’s colleges and universities.

And when we say we’re continuing the tradition of investment through this year’s education budget, we’re not talking about the very easy task of raising the bar from the irresponsible lows of the previous administration – where we saw an average of nearly 11% cuts to education requested each year.

We’re raising the bar after continuing to seek out big boosts for education each year.

And we’re raising the bar after delivering the largest-ever public investment in education in our nation’s history through the American Rescue Plan.

Our schools and students have made significant progress because of it.

Despite the caps of the Fiscal Responsibility Act this year, this budget still matches the best budgets of the Obama years, while building on the best budgets of this Administration.  And it blows the Trump budgets out of the water.

Simply put, there’s a big difference between raising the bar from the ground and raising the bar from the rooftop.

When it comes to education, this budget is about raising the bar from the rooftop.  There are historic investments here requested on top of historic investments delivered.

And let’s also remember: every single year, our budgets have been met by loud voices demanding staggeringly reckless and deeply irresponsible cuts. 

Just one example: to date, we have grown Title I funding for schools supporting low-income students by $1.9 billion to close opportunity and achievement gaps in our nation’s schools and sustain our academic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.

This year, even in the context of the caps under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, we’re calling for another $200 million increase this year. 

Contrast that with the nearly $15 billion cut proposed by some Members of Congress last year, which would have led to the loss of more than 200,000 teacher jobs supported through Title I.  Imagine the impact on our students.

Look: if we’re serious about leading the world, we can’t play dangerous games with our nation’s future.  No nation has led the world by refusing to invest in the education of its people.

I often say: in America, we want Finland results but we’re not willing to make Finland investments.  This Administration is making investments that improve education across this country.

The slash-and-burn approach to education budgets that some have called for, especially at the federal level, if it had been enacted, would have been a deep and self-inflicted wound to American leadership.

It would have compromised our global standing for decades, and could have led to a lost generation of American students after the pandemic.  We are focused on defending public education while some are hell bent on defunding it.

Instead, we’ve made moves to invest more – not less – in the future of our country.  And with strong partnership in Congress, I’m confident we can work together to accomplish that vision.

I’m proud that we are announcing another budget that seeks to raise the bar for education and do the maximum possible under fiscal constraints to position our nation for continued global leadership. 

We cannot settle for anything less. And under my watch, we won’t. 

Thank you.

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