July 15, 2018
Urge senators to reject Supreme Court nominee
Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Justice Kennedy’s retirement, is not a fair-minded constitutionalist — someone who will fight for equality and justice for all. Of particular concern to educators, Kavanaugh’s record shows that he is likely to uphold vouchers to private religious schools and declare protections for pre-existing conditions and other key provisions of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. As a judge, he has consistently voted to reverse rulings that protect workers' safety, privacy, and rights to organize and bargain collectively — and would do the same on the Supreme Court. The last thing we need is another partisan justice who sides with big corporations over protecting health care, civil rights, and treating working people fairly. Click on the take action button and tell your senators to reject Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
Tell Congress NOT to increase funding for the DC voucher program
House appropriators voted to increase funding for the nation’s only federally funded voucher program despite mounting evidence that students who use vouchers to attend private schools do less well academically than those who remain in public schools. For the second year in a row, participants in the District of Columbia’s voucher program did significantly worse in math than their public school peers, according to a new federal study. Vouchers divert funding and resources from public schools to private, often religious, schools ill-equipped to provide the same comprehensive services and support as public schools. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to focus on the public schools that educate 9 out of 10 students, not voucher programs that rob them of funding and resources.
Tell Congress to increase education funding
In a near party-line vote — all 30 Republicans and one Democrat — the House Appropriations Committee endorsed long-term detention of migrant children at the U.S. border. The provision is included in the FY2019 appropriations bill that governs spending on education, health, labor, and other critical federal programs. Flores v. Reno, a decades-old settlement agreement, allows detention of migrant children for 20 days — no longer. The push to undo that ruling is part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for asylum seekers and others who do not legally cross the border between the United States and Mexico. The bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee increases education funding far less than the Senate’s version of the bill. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to increase education funding.
Tell the Census Bureau NOT to add a citizenship question
On July 3, a federal judge ruled that the Commerce Department acted in “bad faith” when it decided to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. At least six lawsuits have been filed to fight the decision. A “friend of the court” brief signed by more than 150 organizations, including NEA, notes that the Census Bureau itself opposes the citizenship question and that adding it would undermine enforcement of the Voting Rights Act by “undercount[ing] the minority populations who rely on that data to bring VRA claims.” Click on the take action button and tell the Census Bureau NOT to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census — and feel free to add your own thoughts about why it is bad idea.
Cheers and Jeers
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) for raising serious concerns about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court or the process for filling the vacancy created by Justice Kennedy’s resignation
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for hosting and Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jack Reed (D-RI) for attending a Democratic Policy and Communications Committee hearing about the corporate-backed campaign to take away working Americans’ rights and undermine unions; witnesses included Christine Marsh, an NEA and Arizona Education Association member and former Arizona Teacher of the Year
Co-sponsors of the Social Security Administration Fairness Act (S. 3147/H.R. 6251), which eliminates the 5-month waiting period for disability benefits, the 24-month waiting period for the disabled to get Medicare, and institutes a moratorium on closing field offices and resident or rural contact stations
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D- NJ) for highlighting legislative threats to the cost and availability of health care during the House Ways and Means Committee’s markup of bills to sabotage the Affordable Care Act
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his explanation of why Congress has not taken common-sense steps to prevent school shootings: “I don’t think at the federal level there’s much that we can do other than appropriate funds.”
Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee and Democrat Henry Cuellar (TX) for voting to undo the decades-old settlement agreement in Flores v. Reno that prohibits detaining migrant children for more than 20 days