Federal Legislative Updates
News from Capitol Hill. . .
December 6, 2013
Urge Congress to put students first, replace the sequester cuts
With just a week until the December 13 deadline for the budget conference committee to attempt to reach agreement on replacements for the sequester cuts and overall funding levels for this year, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) continue negotiations on a small potential deal. A possible agreement could partially replace the across-the-board sequester cuts with targeted spending cuts that would NOT include Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security; new revenue could be provided without hiking taxes – for example, by raising fees for airline ticket purchases. Fully replacing the sequester and restoring education funding to the level in the Senate appropriations bill could help tens of millions of students – up to 23 million served by Title I alone – by providing an additional $5.6 billion for preK-12 through post-secondary programs in fiscal year 2014.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! – Urge Congress to replace the sequester cuts and invest in education.
Tell your Representative to support immigration reform
Amidst growing indications that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is preparing to take up immigration reform legislation in 2014, at least 19 members of NEA’s staff participated in the “Fast for Families,” started November 12, to show support for student DREAMers, their families, and other aspiring Americans. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and some 30 bipartisan members of Congress visited the fasters in their tent on the National Mall to offer encouragement. Closely modeled after the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in June, the NEA-supported Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15) would provide a 13-year pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans and a five-year expedited pathway to citizenship for eligible DREAMers.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! – Tell your Representative to support immigration reform (H.R. 15).
Encourage your Senators to back higher federal minimum wage
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 (S. 1737) would raise the federal minimum wage from to $10.10 an hour in three steps. NEA strongly supports the measure, noting that many of our education support professionals need to work multiple jobs just to support their families. Today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is equivalent to an annual salary of $15,080 for a full-time worker.
TAKE ACTION TODAY! – Encourage your Senators to raise the federal minimum wage (S. 1737).
Cheers and Jeers
Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) for introducing the NEA-supported Sequester Delay and Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act,which would replace the sequester for a couple years by closing corporate tax loopholes.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for opposing a continuing resolution to fund the government after Jan. 15 unless it addresses the sequester: “I believe that hurts our national security, it hurts our economy and it undermines our responsibility of running government at a level that is productive for our people.”
Representatives Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Joe Garcia (D-FL) for joining the “Fast for Families” on the National Mall this week – each is abstaining from food for 24 hours – to urge the Republican-led House to take up immigration reform.
Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) for indicating that a budget deal that provides revenue to replace the sequester cuts is unlikely to get his support “unless we’re going to look at Social Security and Medicare.”
Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) for supporting preservation of the overall sequester spending level of $967 billion. “[P]ass the sequester and go home,” he said.