Education groups lobby hard against 'fiscal cliff'

A view of new pencils and an apple on a desk at the Redu project presented by Bing on October 9, 2010 in New York City. Education groups are among the biggest lobbyists working to avoid the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

Lots of groups want to have a say on how Congress can avoid the looming cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes. But who’s the most vocal? Maybe you’re thinking defense contractors are the most active lobbyists in the fiscal cliff debate?

Nope. It’s education groups. That comes as a surprise to even the most seasoned campaign finance types.

Sheila Krumholz heads the Center for Responsive Politics. “We don’t think of education as being a heavy hitter among lobbying organizations," she says.  So it’s surprising in that regard.”

Krumholz says 421 organizations hired fiscal cliff lobbyists this year. Most of them  – 91 -- were education groups. And they’ve spent more than $67 million so far.

They’ve got a lot at stake -- like federally-funded research programs. Terry Hartle is chief lobbyist at the American Council on Education. It represents about 2,000 colleges and universities. 

“Scientific research funding, if we fall off the fiscal cliff, will be cut about eight percent across the board," he says.

 Hartle is also worried about education tax breaks that are due to expire at the end of the year. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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One would wonder especially how these kinds of people of ill-repute make it onto public media programming? Are they again using taxpayer money against the public?

I must say that in a time where education funding is all being sent to corporatizing public universities and creating an education technology bubble.....citizens are a bit weary of groups that fight for education funding now a days. We have public universities being offered up as R and D and Human Resources Departments for corporations on the taxpayer dole and public university professors making millions in partnerships with corporate start-ups.....this isn't academics. With product development replacing basic research we are losing an entire generation of scientific knowledge to what is career college, vocational strategies to boost the bottom line of corporations.

Meanwhile, in K-12 we have a charter system that uses gentrification to move the working class and poor out of the urban centers and affluent into their places all while laws allowing for individual contributions to chosen 'public' schools circumvent all of what it means to be a public school. So, those of us fighting for public education take exception to these organizations working to channel taxpayer money to these privatization efforts!

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