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Literacy Groups Fear Losing Federal Aid With Earmark Ban

Advocates for two popular literacy organizations, Reading Is Fundamental and the National Writing Project, are worried that federal aid to support their work is threatened by a measure the Senate may consider next week that would ban congressional earmarks.

Funding for both entities is authorized under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but the proposed moratorium is apparently crafted in a broad enough manner to prevent funding for them and some other national initiatives, according to a blog post on the International Reading Association's website. Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is aiming to attach it to an unrelated bill.

Reading Is Fundamental is a nonprofit organization that distributes free books and literacy resources to low-income families. It received $25 million in fiscal 2010 from the U.S. Department of Education. The National Writing Project is a national network that provides professional development and other support for the teaching of writing in schools. It received about $26 million in fiscal 2010 from the department.

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