Don’t use funds appropriated for public schools to build Trump’s wall
NEA retired member James Kellar called President Trump’s plan to build a border wall with money appropriated for public schools on military bases “unconscionable” at a press briefing organized by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Kellar spent 36 years teaching at Fort Campbell, Ky., where the president’s plan would cause a middle school to lose $63 million earmarked for long-overdue renovations and repairs. Class sizes doubled at a middle school on the base when another run-down school closed in 2017. The president is attempting to divert a total of $3.6 billion from Department of Defense projects to building the wall, including nearly half a billion dollars earmarked for public schools on military bases. Only Congress—after hearing from you!—can halt the effort to rob military kids of the support they deserve. Tell your representatives to speak out and oppose this travesty. TAKE ACTION
NEA president joins rally to get Congress to act and help prevent gun violence
NEA president Lily Eskelsen García was a featured speaker at the National Rally to #EndGunViolence on Capitol Hill. Held on Sept. 25, designated the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims by Congress in 2007, the event attracted people from all across America, many of whom came carrying pictures of those they’ve lost. More than 200 days ago, the House passed legislation that expands background checks and closes the “Charleston loophole” that allowed a white supremacist to buy a gun and kill nine African Americans in a church. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to bring it—or any other gun-related bills—to the floor. A Monmouth University Poll released earlier this month found that 83 percent of the public supports comprehensive background checks, including 94 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans, and 65 percent of NRA members. Tell your senators to support the Background Checks Expansion Act (S. 42) and encourage McConnell to bring it to the floor. TAKE ACTION
House votes to address humanitarian crisis on Southern border
By a vote of 230 to 194, the House passed the NEA-endorsed Homeland Security Improvement Act (H.R. 2203). The bill employs accountability, transparency, and oversight to address the challenges faced by immigrant children and families at our Southern border in a responsible and humane manner. An independent ombudsman for border and immigration-related concerns within the Department of Homeland Security would field and resolve complaints against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The ombudsman would also appoint a border communities liaison and create an oversight panel to evaluate and make recommendations about policies, strategies, and programs that affect border communities.
Cheers and Jeers
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, held a hearing on banning assault weapons and community responses to gun violence in our cities.
Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery, held a hearing that explored community perspectives on school safety and security.
Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), Roy Blunt (MO), Susan Collins (ME), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rand Paul (KY), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), Pat Toomey (PA), and Roger Wicker (MS) voted “yes” on S. J. Res. 54 to end Trump’s “national emergency” and preserve funding for public schools on military bases. The resolution passed 54-41, but Trump is expected to veto it.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, held a hearing, “Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights After Shelby County v. Holder.”
Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, held a hearing, “Oversight of the Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban.”
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, held a hearing, “Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable: Legislation to Negotiate a Better Deal for Americans.”
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Chairwoman of the House Education & Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, held a hearing, “Making Health Care More Affordable: Lowering Drug Prices and Increasing Transparency.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) introduced a bicameral Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution (S. J. Res. 56 and H. J. Res. 76) expressing disapproval of the Department of Education’s new borrower defense rule that fails to protect students defrauded by for-profit colleges.
Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to provide the full $5 billion President Trump requested for his border wall, funding for 300 new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) technicians and officers, and funding for 6,800 additional immigrant detention beds.