Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: Republicans' Inability to Pass a Budget Hurts America's Children

September 26, 2002

Washington, D.C. - With just days left before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, the House of Representatives has passed just five of the 13 appropriations bills that fund the U.S. government. During debate on the House floor this evening on a proposal for a continuing resolution to fund the government through Oct. 4, House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued the following statement:

“The Republican Leadership should be embarrassed by the work they have produced this year, and they should be held accountable for ignoring their constitutional responsibility.

“They control the House of Representatives, they set the agenda, and they decide which bills can come to the floor. Yet, only five out of the 13 appropriations bills have been passed this year, the lowest number at the end of a fiscal year in the last 15 years.

“America’s children deserve every opportunity we can give them, and America’s parents deserve to know before Election Day what the parties really stand for, as opposed to what they say they stand for.

“Nowhere is the contrast between Republican rhetoric and Republican reality so stark as in the oft-repeated promise to 'leave no child behind.' The reality is that the Republicans want to cut education funding to a level far below what was authorized in the Leave No Child Behind Act.

“Despite countless presidential photo ops and despite the 'Little Red Schoolhouse' built outside the Department of Education at massive taxpayer expensive, the reality is that the Republican Party plans to leave millions of children behind.

“And, worse yet, we have heard talk that they plan to do so in a long-term continuing resolution -- a vehicle that they hope will hide their true intent from the American people.

“I certainly hope this is not the case. This spectacularly irresponsible move would amount to appropriating by omission.

“The fact is that the Republicans do not want to debate appropriations bills because they do not want the public to see that their education budget, for instance, would under funds the Leave No Child Behind Act by $7.2 billion.

“The President’s education budget stops six years of steady progress in federal support to local schools dead in its tracks.

“Despite increased requirements for schools that teach children who speak English as a second language, House Republicans are arguing for no new funding to improve multilingual instruction, to train teachers in multilingual education, or to develop assessments in each language spoken by students in that school.

“Republicans are also pushing for a freeze in funding for after-school programs, despite the fact that current funding only provides services to 8 percent of eligible children. Research shows that children who participate in high quality after-school programs do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems.

“We cannot turn our back on the millions of children who just last year we were promising to rescue. And we cannot turn our backs on the economic future of our great nation.”


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