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Federal Legislative Update June 2009

June 12, 2009
June 5, 2009
June 19, 2009
June 26, 2009 

 

6/26/2009

Congress Taking Up Education Funding Bill Shortly

Congress is beginning work on an education funding bill for fiscal year 2010, which begins October 1, 2009.  The first action will take place in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee the week of July 6, and then will move to the full Appropriations Committee and the whole House of Representatives shortly thereafter. 

Investments in education are critical not only to individual students, but to our nation as a whole.  Investing in programs that help students succeed in school and prepare for the workforce results in higher levels of earnings for individuals and higher tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments. 

Earlier this year, Congress provided bold, historic increases for long underfunded education programs as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  However, this funding is only available for two years.  The FY10 appropriations bill will be critical in preventing a future devastating drop-off in funding for programs like Title I and special education. 

NEA supports an education funding bill that provides increases for programs such as Title I and IDEA special education, as well as programs that have that have been neglected in past years, such as Perkins Career and Technical Education, education technology, teacher quality state grants, resources for English Language Learners, and after school programs.

Contact your Representatives in Congress.  Urge Congress to craft an education funding bill that provides the resources necessary to ensure great public schools for every student.  

For more information on NEA’s position on education funding, visit the NEA website

Health Care Reform Still On Front Burner

This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee continued “marking-up” comprehensive health care reform legislation.  Three committees in the House of Representatives have also released a plan for health care reform.

NEA’s Message on Health Care Reform:

  • Support health reform to ensure that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage. 

  • Oppose proposals that would limit or cap the employee tax exclusion for health benefits in any way (oppose taxing employer-provided health benefits).  Telling hard-working employees that benefits will be cut or that they will pay more taxes would unfairly penalize them – particularly when they have bargained those benefits and foregone wage (salary) increases in the past.  Taxing health benefits would also create incentives for employers to drop coverage for their employees altogether. 
  • Health reform must guarantee a choice of health care plans and providers through a private health insurance plan (including one that employees may currently have through their employer) and a government sponsored public health insurance plan option.  
  • A public plan option should not be delayed but established immediately and should be an integral part of any health care delivery reform.  The public plan will compete with the private insurance industry in terms of cost and quality.

Contact your Representatives in Congress.  Urge Congress to craft health care reform proposals that will ensure quality, affordable health care for everyone in America.   

 

6/19/2009

 

Health Care on the Front Burner


This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee began “marking-up” comprehensive health care reform legislation. Action is expected to continue in this committee as well as the Senate Finance Committee through next week. Three committees in the House of Representatives are also expected to start work on health care legislation soon.

NEA’s Message on Health Care Reform:

Support health reform to ensure that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage.

• Health reform must guarantee a choice of health care plans and providers through a private health insurance plan (including one that employees may currently have through their employer) and a government sponsored public health insurance plan option.

A public plan option should not be delayed but established immediately and should be an integral part of any health care delivery reform. The public plan will compete with the private insurance industry in terms of cost and quality.

Oppose proposals that would limit or cap the employee tax exclusion for health benefits in any way (tax employer-provided health benefits). Telling hard-working employees that benefits will be cut or that they will pay more taxes would unfairly penalize them – particularly when they have bargained those benefits and foregone wage (salary) increases in the past. Taxing health benefits would also create incentives for employers to drop coverage for their employees altogether.

Contact your Representatives in Congress. Urge Congress to craft health care reform proposals that will ensure quality, affordable health care for everyone in America.

Tell Congress: No More Funding for Private School Vouchers 


As Congress works on funding bills for the coming fiscal year (FY 2010), we need to keep up the pressure to prevent any more funding for the pilot voucher program in the District of Columbia. This pilot program, which has shown NO evidence of positive impact on student achievement, was scheduled to expire last year and has already been extended one additional year.

Vouchers are the wrong choice for our students. All children deserve great public schools. Private school vouchers leave too many children behind. We must—and can—strengthen the neighborhood public schools we already have.

Contact your Representatives in Congress! Tell Congress to reject any more funding for private schools vouchers in the District of Columbia

 

 

6/12/2009

News from Capitol Hill...


Get Involved in Support of Health Care Reform

Health care reform is moving at unprecedented speed, with Congress gearing up for action this summer.  Organizing for America (OFA), a project of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) dedicated to supporting President Obama's agenda for change, has created a Health Care Action Center -- a one-stop shop for taking action and learning more to build support for real reform. 

Using their simple online tools, you can find the latest information about the health care debate, declare your support for health care reform, ensure that your representatives know exactly where you stand, and help educate and organize folks in your area.  Whether you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes, you can make a huge difference at this crucial time.

Visit the Health Care Action Center to get started. 

You will find tools to help you:

Please Report Back from Last Week’s Health Care Events

Did you attend an Organizing for America kickoff event last weekend?  If so, let us know how it went.  Did you carry NEA’s message (see below)?  How was it received?  Do you plan to take part in other activities to support health care reform?  Send your reports to us at mailto:edinsider@nea.org?Subject=Health Care Events.

Reminder: NEA’s Message on Health Care Reform:

  • Support health reform to ensure that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage. 
  • Health reform must guarantee a choice of health care plans and providers through a private health insurance plan (including one that employees may currently have through their employer) and a government sponsored public health insurance plan option 
  • A public plan option should not be delayed but established immediately and should be an integral part of any health care delivery reform.  The public plan will compete with the private insurance industry in terms of cost and quality.
  • Oppose proposals being discussed in the United States Senate that would limit or cap the employee tax exclusion for health benefits in any way (tax employer-provided health benefits).  Telling hard-working employees that benefits will be cut or that they will pay more taxes would unfairly penalize them – particularly when they have bargained those benefits and foregone wage (salary) increases in the past.  Taxing health benefits would also create incentives for employers to drop coverage for their employees altogether. 

For information on NEA’s position on health care reform visit the NEA website.  

6/5/2009

News from Capitol Hill...


Health Care Events This Weekend in Your State


Organizing for America (OFA), a project of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) dedicated to supporting President Obama's agenda for change, will hold Health Care Organizing Kickoffs across the nation this weekend, marking the official launch of a grassroots campaign in support of health care reform. Thousands of events have been planned in local communities across all 50 states. During these meetings, participants will watch a special message from the President, discuss his principles for reform, and develop a plan for securing health care reform that reduces costs for all families, protects people's choice of doctors and health plans and assures affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

To sign up for an event in your area, visit the OFA website. If you attend an event, be sure to carry NEA's message on health care reform:

  • Support health reform to ensure that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage.
  • Health reform must guarantee a choice of health care plans and providers through a private health insurance plan (including one that employees may currently have through their employer) and a government sponsored public health insurance plan option.
  • A public plan option should not be delayed but established immediately and should be an integral part of any health care delivery reform. The public plan will compete with the private insurance industry in terms of cost and quality.
  • Oppose proposals being discussed in the United States Senate that would limit or cap the employee tax exclusion for health benefits in any way (tax employer-provided health benefits). Telling hard-working employees that benefits will be cut or that they will pay more taxes would unfairly penalize them - particularly when they have bargained those benefits and foregone wage (salary) increases in the past. Taxing health benefits would also create incentives for employers to drop coverage for their employees altogether.

For information on NEA's position on health care reform visit the NEA website.