The countdown is on- we need to raise $200,000- help us reach our goal by midnight. Donate Now

Education groups lobby hard against ‘fiscal cliff’

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Nov 20, 2012

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. 

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.