April 30, 2017
April 9, 2017
April 2, 2017
April 30, 2017
Stopgap funding bill averts government shutdown
With a midnight deadline fast approaching, Congress passed a stopgap bill on Friday that funds education and other programs at current levels until May 5. Negotiations continue over federal spending for the rest of FY2017 even as eyes turn toward FY2018, which starts October 1 (see next story).
Tell Congress the Trump/DeVos agenda is wrong for students
In meetings with members of Congress this week, NEA’s Board of Directors delivered a blunt message: the Trump/DeVos anti-public education agenda is wrong for students. President Trump’s proposed FY2018 budget would divert over $1 billion from existing programs to voucher-type schemes that strip public schools of scarce resources. Afterschool programs, class size reduction, professional development, Pell grants, and more would be on the chopping block. Overall, federal funding for education would decline by $9 billion or nearly 14 percent. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to focus on investing in — and improving — the public schools where 9 out of 10 students get their education.
GOP amends the American Health Care Act, makes it even worse
In the latest chapter in the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, GOP moderates are balking at changes in the “replacement” crafted by GOP leadership, the NEA-opposed American Health Care Act. “To make a terrible bill even worse, a new amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would allow states to jettison existing essential health benefit requirements and permit insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more than they charge healthy people,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. Tell your representative to oppose the original and amended American Health Care Act.
Urge Congress to pass the Social Security Fairness Act
On April 27, National Retirement Security Advocacy Day, NEA’s Board of Directors and Retired Executive Council went to Capitol Hill to build support for the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017 (S. 915/H.R. 1205). Members of Congress with whom they met included Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), lead sponsor of the bill in the House. The bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act would fully repeal the unfair Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Together, the GPO and WEP deprive nearly 9 million educators and other dedicated public servants of Social Security benefits they have earned. Click on the take action button and tell your senators and representative to cosponsor and support the Social Security Fairness Act.
Cheers and Jeers
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tammy Baldwin D- (WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dean Heller (R-NV) for introducing the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017 in the Senate
Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL), and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for their help in making National Retirement Security Advocacy Day a success
Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Ed Markey (D-MA) for serving as honorary co-hosts of a bipartisan panel for Senate staff on the E-Rate program
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) for his letter asking principals, counselors, and teachers to join the fight to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges
April 9, 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
April 2, 2017
Tell senators to VOTE NO on Gorsuch for the Supreme Court
The Senate Judiciary Committee votes April 3 on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, with full Senate action expected by the end of the week. If Democrats remain united in their opposition to him, majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will have to choose between requiring 60 votes to advance the nomination (as has been long-standing Senate precedence) or rewriting the Senate’s rules to allow a simple majority to confirm Judge Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees.
NEA strongly opposes confirming Judge Gorsuch because he 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. Join the tens of thousands who have emailed or called their senators by clicking the take action button to urge a NO vote on Judge Gorsuch, or call them at 1-855-632-1921.
Tell Congress to oppose Trump / DeVos budget cuts
President Trump’s FY2018 budget plan slashes U.S. Department of Education funding by $9 billion or nearly 14 percent. While cutting public schools — including eliminating afterschool programs, teacher training and funding to reduce class sizes — the Trump / DeVos agenda calls for adding billions to private schools through voucher schemes. Click on the take action button and tell Congress the Trump / DeVos anti-public education agenda is wrong for students and taxpayers.
Cheers and Jeers
Senators who have announced opposition to Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Alma Adams (D-NC), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Mark Takano (D-CA) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) for hosting and attending a panel discussion on ESSA implementation that included NEA Vice President Becky Pringle.