November 16, 2018
Democrats flip nearly 40 House seats, elect record number of women to Congress
The blue wave on Capitol Hill continues to grow as final mid-term election results are tallied. In the House, Democrats are on track to gain 35 to 38 seats, according to the non-partisan Cook Political Report. In the Senate, the GOP retains control 51-47, with two races still to be decided: Florida (recount) and Mississippi (run-off). The 116th Congress that takes office January 3, the most diverse in our nation’s history, will include at least 128 women — among them, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes (shown in photo), the first African American woman to go to Congress from Connecticut. These successes are the product of growing member engagement — nearly 220,000 NEA members and education families canvassed neighborhoods, made phone calls, and found other ways to support pro-education candidates in the mid-term elections. Thank you for everything you do!
Tell DHS to withdraw proposed ‘public charge’ rule because it hurts children and families
Millions of immigrant families could soon be forced to choose between a green card (permanent legal status) and access to basic needs like food, shelter, and health care — a horrific choice that will do lasting damage to children’s emotional well-being and ability to learn. The source of the dilemma is a proposed U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule that is open for public comment until December 10. The proposed rule vastly expands the definition of “public charge”— i.e., someone deemed likely to depend primarily on the U.S. government for subsistence. For decades, only “cash and care” programs have been considered when determining who is a public charge: Supplemental Security Income; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; and government-funded, long-term institutional care. Now, DHS wants to include children covered by Medicaid, seniors who get low-cost prescription drugs through Medicare Part D, and families receiving food stamps or housing vouchers — a change with profound effects such as further reducing legal immigration and disqualifying applicants for green cards. NEA is urging DHS to withdraw the entire proposed rule. Click on the take action button to send that message to DHS — for maximum effect, in your own words including details from your own experience.
Tell Congress to protect and strengthen SNAP
The immediate issue facing the lame duck session of Congress underway is a series of FY2019 funding bills that expire December 7, potentially leading to a partial shut-down of the U.S. government. Education funding levels have been set. Nevertheless, critical measures remain in limbo. They include agriculture appropriations that cover SNAP and child nutrition programs, and the homeland security appropriation that could fund President Trump’s border wall. In addition, Congress may try to finish the farm bill that governs SNAP, the nation’s largest anti-hunger program with nearly 40 million beneficiaries, many of whom are children. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to protect and strengthen SNAP.
Cheers and Jeers
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for proposing a rule that will weaken federal Title IX protections for sexual assault and harassment survivors. “Today’s announcement is another example of a Trump-DeVos agenda that scorns respect for survivors, and proves that students are Secretary DeVos’ last priority,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.