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Bush's Budget Has Not Shortchanged Education

February 16, 2003

Re: "The Real State of the Union Is Not Healthy," Feb. 2:

My colleague from California, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, wrote an op-ed criticizing President Bush's budget and accusing the White House of cutting education programs and underfunding No Child Left Behind, the hallmark of the president's effort to reform education. I would be remiss in my duties as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives if I allowed these falsehoods to go unchecked.

For a fair representation of the facts, Americans should be aware that the president's budget, as discussed in the State of the Union address and officially unveiled [Feb. 3], provides a larger increase for the Department of Education than for any other domestic agency. Federal education spending has increased by almost 50% since President Bush took office and has increased by 131% over the last eight years.

The president's budget increases funding for programs that help bridge the education gap between low-income and wealthy students. For example, Title I funding is increased by $1 billion, which builds on the $2.9 billion provided last year. It also increases funding for the Reading First program by $75 million and for special education by $1 billion.

It is gross misrepresentation of the facts to insinuate that the president has turned his back on America's students.

Howard P. "Buck" McKeon

House of Representatives

(R-Santa Clarita)

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