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Federal Legislative Updates

News from Capitol Hill. . .

July 25, 2014

Share your story about toxic testing, urge Congress to take action

NEA’s campaign to end toxic testing, launched at the Representative Assembly in Denver earlier this month, continues to gather steam. Share your story about the impact of high-stakes testing on your students and urge members of Congress to co-sponsor the Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act (H.R. 4172) to reduce the number of federally-mandated tests from 14 to 6. Fewer federally-mandated tests would free up time for instruction, enabling educators to give greater attention to the students most in need.

TAKE ACTION TODAY! Urge Congress to reduce the federal role in testing.

House passes higher ed bills, affordability still to be addressed

The House passed three NEA-supported components of the Higher Education Act this week with strong bipartisan support: the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project (H.R. 3136), the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983), and  the Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4984). NEA’s Degrees Not Debt campaign continues to shine a spotlight on the pressing need to make college more affordable. Next week, NEA student member Alexis Ploss, from New Hampshire, will meet and share her story with the Senate Democratic caucus.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!Tell Congress Americans deserve degrees, not debt.

Speak up for school meal programs

Federal breakfast and lunch programs that together serve 40 million children (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture) were the subject of a hearing held Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to prepare for looming reauthorizations and explore the controversy over higher nutrition standards set by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The link between good nutrition and academic success is clear, yet 73 percent of educators reported in a recent survey that students in their classrooms regularly come to school hungry because there isn’t enough food at home.

TAKE ACTION TODAY! Tell Congress students need good nutrition to succeed.

Cheers and Jeers

Cheers to:

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Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) for vowing to live with their spouses on $157 a week—roughly the income for  two minimum-wage earners after taxes and housing expenses—to underscore the need to raise the federal minimum wage. “It’s not just about helping minimum-wage workers and their families.” Schakowsky said. “It’s also going to make our economy better, because these folks are going to go out and spend that money.”

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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) for their bipartisan introduction of the NEA-supported Full Service Community Schools Act in the House.

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Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Jim McGovern (D-MA) for introducing the House companion (H.J. Res. 119) to the Senate constitutional amendment (S.J. Res. 19) on campaign finance reform, and to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for her leadership on the issue.

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Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for taking up the NEA-supported Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which passed out of the Committee this week with the support of Republicans  John McCain (R-AZ) and John Barasso (R-WY), and all 10 Democrats.  

Jeers to:

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-OH) for his “anti-poverty“ plan,  released on Thursday, which would slash vital programs for children, students, and families ranging from food stamps to Medicaid to aid for higher education.

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Republicans Bob Corker (TN), James Risch (ID), Marco Rubio (FL), Ron Johnson (WI), Jeff Flake (AZ), and Rand Paul (KY) for opposing U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


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