December 17, 2017
Busy week ahead
Funding for the federal government runs out at midnight on Friday, December 22. To avert a shutdown, Congress must reach a budget deal or postpone the day of reckoning with another temporary fix. Unresolved issues include a funding agreement; permanent legislative solution for the 800,000 participants in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); and funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which will soon be exhausted in more than a dozen states.
GOP leadership’s tax scam could become law by Christmas
Congress is expected to vote on GOP leadership’s final tax bill, unveiled just days ago, by early this week. To pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the plan could put up to 133,000 education jobs at risk and slash education funding by as much as $152 billion — over $300 less in spending per student, per year. The final bill lowers the top tax rate for individuals to 37 percent — several points more than the bills previously passed by the Senate and the House. It also transforms 529 college savings plans into voucher-like schemes by allowing the wealthy to put money into tax-free accounts used to pay private school expenses. An idea championed by Betsy DeVos, this approach will hurt students and the neighborhood schools that 90 percent of our children attend. Click on the take action button and tell your senators and representative to VOTE NO on the GOP’s tax scam!
Tell your representative to oppose the GOP’s rewrite of the Higher Education Act
The House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to advance the PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508), a rewrite of the Higher Education Act that NEA opposes in its current form. 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.
Urge Congress to pass the Dream Act
More than 10,000 young Americans once covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are at grave risk of deportation — and the number grows by more than 850 every week that Congress fails to act. The Dream Act, the most inclusive solution for DACA recipients and others brought to the United States as minors, provides multiple pathways to citizenship via higher education, military service, or employment. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to pass the Dream Act now!
Cheers and Jeers
Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) for holding a press conference to highlight the need for continued funding of Children’s Health Insurance Program
Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) for breaking ranks with their Republican colleagues and supporting an amendment by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) to restore the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program during the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s markup of the PROSPER Act
23 members of the bipartisan PSLF caucus for their letter urging leaders of the House Education and the Workforce Committee not to restrain access to the PSLF program
Republican members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee for voting to advance the PROSPER Act, the GOP’s proposed rewrite of the Higher Education Act