June 17, 2018
June 10, 2018
June 3, 2018
June 17, 2018
Tell your representative to VOTE NO on both of GOP leadership’s immigration bills
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is planning to have the House vote on two immigration bills next week, both of which NEA strongly opposes. The Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 (H.R. 4760), introduced by Rep. BobGoodlatte (R-VA), provides three-year renewable legal status for DACA recipients but no pathway to citizenship, significantly reduces legal immigration, and eliminates the diversity visa lottery, among other harmful provisions. The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, or Ryan bill, takes a “four-pillar” approach similar to that of a previously rejected White House proposal. Key provisions include $25 billion for a border wall; new limits on family-based migration; eliminating the diversity visa lottery; and a convoluted, decades-long pathway to citizenship for some DACA recipients — a far cry from the certainty Dreamers need and deserve. The bipartisan Dream Act that provides a straightforward pathway to citizenship will not get a vote even though it has the overwhelming support of the American people. Click on the take action button and tell your representative to VOTE NO on both of GOP leadership’s immigration bills.
Tell Congress to boost education funding in FY2019
House subcommittee passed an education funding bill that includes small increases for education programs and largely rejects education secretary Betsy DeVos’ budget proposal, which slashed funding for the students most in need while calling for vouchers. All our students deserve high quality, well-resourced public schools, no matter what zip code they live in. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to increase education funding and reject the DeVos agenda.
Senate farm bill passes out of committee
The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a bipartisan farm bill on June 12 by a vote of 20-1. Officially called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042), this bipartisan bill leaves eligibility and benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) largely unchanged; it also takes steps to reduce paperwork for households with seniors and people with disabilities. NEA strongly opposes the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R. 2), the House version of the farm bill. Although it was soundly rejected just a few weeks ago, GOP leaders plan to make another attempt to pass it on June 22. Click on the take action button and tell your representatives to support the Agriculture Improvement Act (S. 3042) and oppose the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R. 2).
Cheers and Jeers
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for introducing a bipartisan farm bill reauthorization that does not make steep cuts or limit eligibility for SNAP like the House version of the bill
Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Donald McEachin (D-VA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Norma Torres (D-CA) for their tweets honoring the 49 people who lost their lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016
Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Tom Cole (OK), Rodney Davis (IL), Christopher Smith (NJ), Barbara Comstock (VA), David McKinley (WV), Michael Turner (OH), Peter King (NY), Walter Jones (NC), Mike Bost (IL), David Joyce (OH), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Rob Wittman (VA), John Faso (NY), John Katko (NY), Lee Zeldin (NY), Ryan Costello (PA), Leonard Lance (NJ), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and Elise Stefanik (NY) for their letter urging President Trump to rescind three executive orders that undermine collective bargaining and other established rights of federal employees, including educators in Department of Defense schools
Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings (MD), Steny Hoyer (MD), Bobby Scott (VA), Joseph Crowley (NY), Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Linda Sánchez (CA), Adam Smith (WA), John Yarmuth (KY), Bennie Thompson (MS), Frank Pallone (NJ), Eliot Engel (NY), Nydia Velázquez (NY), Richard Neal (MA), Peter DeFazio (OR), Nita Lowey (NY), Robert Brady (PA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Tim Walz (MN), James McGovern (MA), Adam Schiff (CA), Jerrold Nadler (NY), and James Clyburn (SC) for their letter urging President Trump to rescind three executive orders that undermine collective bargaining and other established rights of federal employees, including educators in Department of Defense schools
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) for being skeptical about the claim that charter schools offer all students equity of opportunity, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) for decrying charter schools’ re-segregation via charter schools in her state, and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) for questioning the impact of for-profit charter schools on students at a hearing this week
House GOP leaders for blocking a vote on the bipartisan Dream Act and planning, instead, to bring two anti-immigrant bills to the floor this week
June 10, 2018
Trump/DeVos commission downplays guns’ role in school violence
Education secretary Betsy DeVos told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that the Federal Commission on School Safety, which she chairs, will not focus on the role guns play in school violence. “That is not part of the commission's charge, per se,” she said. Formed by President Trump in response to the Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 students and faculty in Parkland, Florida, the commission will instead examine possibly repealing the Obama administration’s guidance on school discipline policies, which could disproportionately affect minority students; ratings systems for video games; consumption of “violent entertainment,” and media coverage of mass shootings. Click on the take action button and tell Betsy DeVos exactly what you think about her Federal Commission on School Safety.
Keep the pressure on! Tell senators again not to add a voucher program to the must-pass defense bill
The must-pass defense bill will be on the Senate floor this week, where an amendment could be considered that creates a voucher program for military-connected students. While it may appear that support for vouchers is softening, the battle is far from won. Whether they’re called vouchers, education savings accounts, or tuition tax credits, the impact is the same: robbing public schools of funding and resources that may already fall short of what is needed. A voucher program could also reduce Impact Aid for public schools serving large numbers of military-connected students — one of the reasons the National Military Family Association and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) are against it. Click on the take action button and tell your senators to oppose private school vouchers for military-connected students.
Tell Congress to take action for children
The discharge petition that would force Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to hold votes on four immigration bills, including the NEA-supported Dream Act, is on the cusp of advancing — as we go to press, the petition is just three votes short of the 218 needed by June 12. The 215 signatories to the petition include 24 Republicans and 191 Democrats. Meanwhile, in a closed-door meeting on Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he would try again to craft a compromise bill that would likely pass with only Republican votes. The bipartisan Dream Act, the most inclusive solution for DACA recipients and others brought to the United States as children, provides multiple pathways to citizenship via higher education, military service, or employment. Click on the take action and tell Congress to pass the Dream Act now!
Cheers and Jeers
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for his take on the absurdity of Betsy DeVos’ school safety commission: “So you’re studying gun violence but not considering the role of guns?”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) for asking asked education secretary Betsy DeVos about school infrastructure at an appropriations subcommittee hearing this week
Gun Violence Prevention Task Force members Reps. André Carson (D-IN), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) for their tweets on gun violence prevention
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) for their amendment to the must-pass defense bill that eliminates taxation of relocation services for Department of Defense educators and other federal employees.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for introducing and 31 senators for cosponsoring the Keep Families Together Act to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border
June 3, 2018
Tell Congress to take action for children
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” approach to unauthorized immigration is separating growing numbers of children from their parents when they arrive at the border between the United States and Mexico. The parents are sent to jail and the children to shelters operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or other government agencies. In the last month alone, the number of migrant children in U.S. government custody rose by more than 20 percent, according to the Washington Post. The situation is harming children irreparably and tearing families apart — the opposite of what we stand for as a nation. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to urge the Trump administration to reverse the policy responsible for this unspeakable cruelty!
We’re almost there! Tell senators not to add a voucher program to the must-pass defense bill
We succeeded in keeping a voucher program for military-connected students out of the bill passed by the full House and by the Senate in committee — now we need to do the same on the Senate floor. While it may appear that support for vouchers is softening, the battle is far from won. Whether they’re called vouchers, education savings accounts, or tuition tax credits, the impact is the same: robbing public schools of funding and resources that may already fall short of what is needed. A voucher program could also reduce Impact Aid for public schools serving large numbers of military-connected students — one of the reasons the National Military Family Association and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) are against it. Click on the take action button and tell your senators to oppose private school vouchers for military-connected students.
Tell your representative to oppose the GOP’s rewrite of the Higher Education Act
The PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508), a rewrite of the Higher Education Act that NEA opposes in its current form, could be coming to House floor soon — possibly, by the middle of this month. The bill eliminates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which encourages talented people to become educators, firefighters, nurses, public defenders, and pursue other forms of public service. It also consolidates repayment options, caps the amount of money students and families can borrow from the federal government to pay for college and graduate school, relaxes oversight of for-profit schools with a history of preying on at-risk students, and eliminates $41 million in federal grants for teacher preparation programs. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to draft a new bill that remains true to the original intent of the Higher Education Act: making college affordable and accessible to all our students.