A credit card for war, but no cash for teachers?

Consider the following: Despite widespread shortfalls in education funding around the country, the $10 billion that would have saved 140,000 teacher jobs across the nation - all of it offset - has been cut. The $37.12 billion in war funding, on the other hand, is not paid for. Every single penny adds directly to the national debt. This is not good for national security. This is continuing a failed policy at the exact wrong time.

The bill before the House denies our children the right to an education and takes away their future earning power. It also adds to the economic burden they will eventually have to bear. This is a moral outrage. We find it unacceptable that this Congress places a greater priority on foreign wars than urgent domestic needs. We have compounded our moral short-sightedness with utter fiscal irresponsibility.

After the dramatic revelations of this week, it is clearer than ever just how daunting a task our troops face in Afghanistan. We are trying to build a modern, democratic state in an area divided by tribal and ethnic identities that has successfully resisted foreign powers for centuries. We are fighting for one side in a civil war, killing civilians, building resentment toward the United States, and making it nearly impossible to gain the popular support that could make success possible.

As multiple reports have shown, pervasive corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan siphons resources so that even worthwhile projects are doomed to fail. This is not how we want to spend borrowed money. Our people at home are facing a difficult job market, lower funding for education, and a shattered Gulf economy that needs significant attention. We need to prioritize and make the right choices, not continue as before out of inertia or a lack of urgency. We urge the president to consider how this spending really improves the lives of Americans and how it can be spent in more productive ways.

Issued by U.S. Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.) John Conyers (D-Mich.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine),  Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.)