April 7, 2017
Senate rewrites rules to confirm Supreme Court nominee
After changing the rules to lower the number of votes required to confirm a Supreme Court justice from 60 to a simple majority, the Senate approved Judge Neil Gorsuch 54-45. NEA had urged senators to vote no because Gorsuch has repeatedly ruled against students with disabilities who seek a public education, consistently sided with big business at the expense of working people, and embraced extreme views that could endanger workers’ rights on issues like employment discrimination, worker safety, and wages.
Tell Congress to oppose Trump/DeVos budget cuts
President Trump’s FY2018 initial budget plan slashes U.S. Department of Education funding by $9 billion or nearly 14 percent. The Trump/DeVos agenda calls for voucher schemes that provide billions of dollars for private schools while slashing funding for afterschool programs in public schools, Pell Grants, teacher professional development, and class size reduction. Click on the take action button and tell Congress the Trump/DeVos anti-public education agenda is wrong for students and taxpayers.
Tell Congress to protect retirement security
Educators will converge on Capitol Hill on April 27 for National Retirement Security Advocacy Day. The day will include lobbying in Washington by the NEA Board of Directors and NEA Retired Executive Council, as well as back-home activities, emails, and phone calls by NEA members and partners. Get involved! And in the meantime, click on the take action button and tell Congress to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
Reach out while Congress is back home
Congress has recessed for two weeks — the Senate returns on April 24 and the House on April 25. Reach out to your representatives while they’re back home. Schedule a meeting to discuss what your students need and continue to weigh in on protecting public schools from the Trump/DeVos agenda that cuts public education and promotes vouchers. Get all you need at NEA’s Legislative Action Center.
Cheers and Jeers
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Jack Reed (D-RI) for condemning Judge Gorsuch’s rulings against students with disabilities during debates in committee or on the Senate floor
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for introducing the College for All Act, which would allow students from families earning less than $125,000 — 80 percent of our student population — to attend four-year public colleges and universities tuition- and fee-free
Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) for introducing the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 1205), which would fully repeal the GPO and WEP penalties that harm public servants like educators
Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and John Katko (R-NY) for leading a sign-on letter asking the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee to put the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on a path to full federal funding within 10 years
Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for introducing the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and the Corporate EXIT Fairness Act to close loopholes that encourage companies to shift jobs and profits offshore and crack down on illegal tax evasion
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for introducing legislation to help prevent and reduce gun violence by funding research on the issue at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate GOP leadership for changing the Senate rules to lower the number of votes required to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees
Representative Jody Hice (R-GA) for introducing the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1364), which would deprive Department of Defense Education Authority and other federal employees of pension credit for time spent on some union activities