Skip to Content

Federal Legislative Update May 2009

May 28, 2009
May 15, 2009
May 8, 2009
May 1, 2009


News from Capitol Hill...

Tell Congress to Enact Sensible Health Care Reform

As Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess, health care reform will be front and center on the agenda.Health care reform is vital to the recovery of our nation's economy and is also a crucial ingredient for successful public schools. The lack of necessary medical and dental services for children and students of all ages creates a serious impediment to the learning process.

NEA supports health reform to ensure that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage.We believe 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.

NEA opposes 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.

Contact your Senators Today!

Tell the Senate to craft health care reform proposals that will ensure quality, affordable health care for everyone in America, to reject proposals to tax employer-provided benefits and to make a government sponsored public health insurance plan option available to all.

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


News from Capitol Hill...

Your Chance to Weigh in on Education Reform!

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has embarked on a cross-country “listening tour.” In announcing the tour, the Secretary has said, “As we prepare for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, I want to hear from classroom teachers and other educators, parents and students, business people and citizens. What’s working, and what’s not? What do we need to do that we’re not doing, and what do we need to stop doing — or do differently?”

Secretary Duncan is also requesting feedback through the Department of Education’s website. Each week, the Secretary will pose a different question for consideration. This week’s question is:

Many states in America are independently considering adopting internationally-benchmarked, college and career-ready standards. Is raising standards a good idea? How should we go about it?

Weigh in with your thoughts on this important topic and check back each week to see the latest questions.

For information on NEA’s position on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind, visit the NEA website.

Tell Congress: Help Students Pursue Higher Education

Each year, thousands of undocumented students who have lived in the United States for at least five years graduate from U.S. high schools. Among these students, with whom NEA members work every day, are class valedictorians, straight-A students, and idealistic youth committed to bettering their communities. Yet, because of enormous barriers created by their lack of legal status, many such students are unable to pursue higher education. The loss to these students, and to society as a whole, is significant.

The bipartisan DREAM Act (H.R. 1751/S. 729) will provide a path to legal status for individuals brought to the U.S. as undocumented children years ago. The Act is narrowly tailored. It would apply only to individuals brought to the U.S. at least five years ago as children, who have grown up here, and who have remained in school and out of trouble. Such students could adjust their status to that of a conditional permanent resident and could then have the conditional status lifted if they complete at least two years of college or serve in the military.

Contact your Members of Congress

Urge Members of Congress to support the DREAM Act.

For more information on this legislation, visit the NEA website.


News from Capitol Hill...

Potential Opportunity for Social Security Offsets Repeal

Key Members of Congress from both parties have held tentative talks about “overhauling” the Social Security system, and Congress could turn its attention to reform later this year. Congressional consideration of Social Security reform could offer an important opportunity to push repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.  Such repeal will be a top priority for NEA in any reform debate. 

Our efforts to move GPO/WEP repeal as part of overall reform of the Social Security system will be greatly enhanced if we can demonstrate maximum support among Members of Congress for the repeal proposal.  As of today, The House version of the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 235) has 274 bipartisan cosponsors — an impressive number that is close to the record level reached in the last Congress.  The Senate version (S. 484), however, has only 24 cosponsors.  Additional pressure is needed to build up the Senate cosponsor list, as well as continuing to increase support in the House.

Contact your Members of Congress Today

Urge your Senators and Representative
to cosponsor S. 484/H.R. 235 — the Social Security Fairness Act — if they have not already done so.  Urge all Members to support including repeal of the GPO and WEP in any comprehensive Social Security reform package.

NEA Board of Directors Visits Capitol Hill — Working for YOU!

On April 30, the NEA Board of Directors met with first and second-term Members of Congress at a breakfast reception designed to allow the NEA leaders to bring the concerns of NEA members to Capitol Hill.  Discussions focused on issues of great importance to educators and the students they serve, including health care reform, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and repeal of Social Security Offsets.  See photos of your leaders in action and watch videos as members of the NEA Board prepare to visit personally with their congressional representatives. 


News from Capitol Hill...

You Did It!  Congress Passes Congressional Budget Resolution

With your help, we have secured another big victory for public education — House and Senate passage of the fiscal year 2010 Congressional Budget Resolution.  The Budget is critical as it lays the groundwork for building on the increases for education provided in the economic recovery package. 

Passage of this $3.5 trillion Budget would not have been possible without the efforts of thousands of NEA activists who put pressure on Members of Congress to vote in support.

The final agreement crafted by conferees reflects the priorities advocated by NEA members.  It allows for significant investments in education and includes language to pave the way for action on health care reform this year.

See how your Senators and Representative voted on this important legislation.

Check out “Republicans Opposing Voucher Efforts” Website

Republicans who support public education and oppose private school vouchers can express those views through a website at (Republicans Opposing Voucher Efforts).  At this site, you can read your state's Republican platform and the national Republican platform, and can send a message to Republican Chairman Steele and your state officials in opposition to vouchers.  Please take a moment to check out this informative website.