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Federal Legislative Update January 2010

January 29, 2010
January 22, 2010
January 15, 2010
January 8, 2010


News from Capitol Hill. . .

1/29/2010

President Obama Calls For Quick Action On Jobs Bill: Act Now To Help Save Education Jobs


In his State of the Union Address earlier this week, President Obama said,

"Because of the steps we took [to create jobs], there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed….300,000 are teachers and other education workers…. Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all. But…for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight…Now, the House has passed a jobs bill… As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same, and I know they will….I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."

NEA strongly supports the President’s call for a new jobs bill. In December, the House of Representatives passed the NEA-supported Jobs for Main Street Act, including significant investments in education to help save and create jobs that help students achieve, run our schools, and strengthen the middle class.

Now, it is the Senate’s turn. NEA is urging the Senate to support a jobs package that provides, at a minimum, the critical education investments included in the House-passed bill.

Quick action is necessary. Governors and state legislatures across the country have already begun to grapple with how to address budget shortfalls for the next fiscal year, as most are well underway in their FY2011 budget planning process. If left unaddressed, budget shortfalls will have a devastating impact on schools, students, and educators.

Investment in public education is the best investment for the nation’s economy, in the short run and long run. The education dollars provided in the Jobs for Main Street Act will save or create hundreds of thousands of educator jobs, and will provide a critical infusion of funds into struggling communities.

Contact Your Senators Today! Urge the Senate to pass a jobs package that includes, at a minimum, the investments in education provided in the House-passed bill.

Critical provisions include:

  • An Education Jobs Fund that will help states create/save jobs. This Fund will have an immediate impact, as saving an education job involves no wait time to draw up contracts or acquire materials. It will also help keep pre-k through postsecondary institutions fully staffed with teachers, faculty, and education support professionals — thereby ensuring that class sizes don’t swell and students can get the attention they need -- at a time when many students are experiencing great stress.
  • Provide money for school construction, renovation and modernization — to build, repair, and modernize k-12 and postsecondary schools, advance student achievement, and generate jobs in local communities.

See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will save/create in your state.

See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill.

Read NEA’s response to the State of the Union Address.

New NEA Video Available On Social Security Offsets


NEA is pleased to announce the availability of our new video highlighting the impacts of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision on educators. The video, which runs just over six minutes long, features an introduction and closing call to action by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, along with testimonials from impacted NEA members about the unfair offsets.

The video can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeVDDBtFfW0. We encourage you to forward the video link to colleagues, friends and others who can help spread the word about the need for repeal. Be sure to leave a comment on YouTube about the video and the importance of repealing these unfair offsets as well.

Health Insurance Reform: The Fight Is Not Over


The fight continues to make sure Congress passes a good reform bill. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “Here's what I ask Congress…Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. “

We must continue to encourage the House and Senate to support a bill that makes quality health care more affordable and accessible for all working families.

Contact Your Representatives in Congress Today! Tell Congress to finish the job and deliver a health reform bill that meets the needs of America’s families

Why Health Insurance Reform is Important

  • The bill under consideration goes a long way toward giving quality, affordable health care to more than 30 million Americans in this country — many of whom are children.
  • Health care is an education issue. Our 3.2 million members educate our nation’s children. Students who come to school healthy and ready to learn will one day be prepared to be contributing members to the well-being and prosperity of our nation and the world.
  • We cannot close the achievement gaps when so many of our student’s families don’t have job security, health care coverage, or access to living wages and benefits.
  • Studies show that poor children (children below the poverty line and likely without health care coverage) are more likely than better-off children to suffer from a wide array of chronic health problems, such as asthma and digestive disorders, that affect school readiness in many ways.

  • News from Capitol Hill. . .

    1/22/2010

    Tell The Senate To Support Education Funding in Jobs Package


    In December, the House of Representatives passed the Jobs for Main Street Act, including significant investments in education to help save and create jobs that help students achieve, run our schools, and strengthen the middle class.

    Now, it is the Senate’s turn. NEA is urging the Senate to support a jobs package that provides, at a minimum, the critical education investments included in the House-passed bill.

    Quick action is necessary. Governors and state legislatures across the country have already begun to grapple with how to address budget shortfalls for the next fiscal year, as most are well underway in their FY2011 budget planning process. If left unaddressed, budget shortfalls will have a devastating impact on schools, students, and educators.

    Investment in public education is the best investment for the nation’s economy, in the short run and long run. The education dollars provided in the Jobs for Main Street Act will save or create hundreds of thousands of educator jobs, and will provide a critical infusion of funds into struggling communities.

    CONTACT YOUR SENATORS TODAY! Urge the Senate to pass a jobs package that includes, at a minimum, the investments in education provided in the House-passed bill. Critical provisions include:

    • An Education Jobs Fund that will help states create/save jobs. This Fund will have an immediate impact, as saving an education job involves no wait time to draw up contracts or acquire materials. It will also help keep schools fully staffed with teachers and education support professionals — thereby ensuring that class sizes don’t swell and students can get the attention they need -- at a time when many students are experiencing great stress.
    • Provide money for school construction, renovation and modernization — to build, repair, and modernize schools, advance student achievement, and generate jobs in local communities.

    See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will save/create in your state.

    See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill.



    News from Capitol Hill. . .

    1/15/2010

    Agreement Reached On Health Care Excise Tax That Will Make The Bill Fair To Working Families!


    Tell Congress: Let’s Finish Reform Right


    Yesterday, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and other labor leaders concluded a days-long intense negotiation with the White House and reached a tentative agreement on the controversial excise tax on higher cost health plans. The deal makes the bill fair to working families and brings us one step closer to meeting our goal of increasing the number of people who have access to quality, affordable health care.

    With this agreement reached, work can now continue to pass needed health reform.

    This agreement would not have been possible without the strong message sent by NEA activists across the country to Congress and the President making very clear our strong opposition to the excise tax. In the past week alone, NEA cyberlobbyists sent over 45,000 e-mails to Congress and President Obama opposing the tax. Thank you for your efforts on this most important issue.

    We still need your help to make sure Congress passes a good reform bill. This has been a long fight and it’s not over yet. We must continue to encourage the House and Senate to support a bill that makes quality health care more affordable and accessible for all working families.

    Tell Congress to finish the job and deliver a health reform bill that meets the needs of America’s families.

    Why Health Insurance Reform is Important

    • The bill under consideration goes a long way toward giving quality, affordable health care to more than 30 million Americans in this country — many of whom are children.
    • Health care is an education issue. Our 3.2 million members educate our nation’s children. Students who come to school healthy and ready to learn will one day be prepared to be contributing members to the well-being and prosperity of our nation and the world.
    • We cannot close the achievement gaps when so many of our student’s families don’t have job security, health care coverage, or access to living wages and benefits.
    • Studies show that poor children (children below the poverty line and likely without health care coverage) are more likely than better-off children to suffer from a wide array of chronic health problems, such as asthma and digestive disorders, that affect school readiness in many ways.

    Read more about the excise tax agreement
    Watch NEA President Dennis van Roekel’s new video message
    Read President Van Roekel’s statement about the excise tax agreement



    News from Capitol Hill. . .

    1/8/2010


    Tell Congress And The President: Absolutely No Excise Tax On Health Insurance Plans!


    Now that the House and Senate have each passed different versions of health care reform legislation, the two chambers are currently working out a final health care bill.

    The Senate bill would pay for needed reforms by imposing a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost insurance plans. The White House has expressed support for the excise tax. The House bill includes no such tax.

    The excise tax is bad policy. It would have a devastating impact on exactly the type of good, comprehensive health care plans reform should be promoting. At the same time, despite President Obama’s promise that those with employer-sponsored health insurance could keep what they have, the excise tax would lead to large-scale upheaval in many workers’ current coverage, including increased costs and reduced benefits.

    The excise tax will disproportionately hurt women, who are more vulnerable to high health care costs than men.

    The excise tax would affect workers who, for decades, have sacrificed salaries for health care benefits, and would be so devastating that entire types of coverage would likely be stripped away.

    Tell the White House and the Senate that the House is right! Taxing working families benefits is just plain wrong.

    Contact your Members of Congress and the President Today!

    Tell Congress and President Obama to pass health reform that is paid for fairly and not on the backs of middle class families.

    Read more about excise tax myths vs. facts.
    Read about the impact of the excise tax on women.
    Learn more about NEA’s position on health care.