SGMA Members Help Keep PEP Hopes Alive in Congress

After strong support from the sporting goods industry, the United States Senate today kept alive funding hopes for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP).
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After strong support from the sporting goods industry, the United States Senate today kept alive funding hopes for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP). The Senate Appropriations Committee included higher funding than their House counterparts did for PEP in their Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. The Senate sent a strong message in ignoring the President's recommendation to reduce and eventually eliminate PEP and rejecting the House of Representatives proposal to only fund existing grants.

The Senate's approval of $73 million in PEP funding would allow for the awarding of new PEP grants in 2007. While this is a big victory for SGMA and other PEP supporters, it is only the latest step on a long road to securing future funding. The full House and Senate still must approve their versions of the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations measures. Once the bills have been approved the two Chambers will reconcile funding differences in a joint conference.

SGMA and PEP supporters told Congress that funding successful physical activity programs will lead to the improved health of our children and ultimately reduce our future health care spending. Through SGMA's grassroots campaign, more than 300 letters reached Capitol Hill urging Congress to fund PEP and support the opportunity for the nation's schoolchildren to participate in quality physical education and adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

“SGMA's members strongly endorsed PEP to Congress in the weeks leading up to the committee vote,” announced SGMA President and CEO Tom Cove. “Our industry has been influential in demonstrating that physical activity is the foundation for a healthy nation, and the Senate committee appropriately recognized the significance of this successful program.”

Having the Senate approve $73 million provides PEP advocates the opportunity to press for level funding of $73 million, but it will require a concerted effort and another strong grassroots campaign by SGMA members and our allies on PEP. SGMA applauds the Senate members for showing their long-term commitment to promoting health-through-fitness.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA, owner of the Sports Research Partnership®, enhances industry vitality and fosters sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.sgmacom.

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