Politics Roundup: Montgomery Council President Speaks Out Against Republican Sick Leave Proposal on Capitol Hill

by Andrew Metcalf

12.08.17   Riemer promotes county's paid sick and family leave law on Capitol Hill Montgomery County Council President Hans Riemer testified Wednesday during a U.S. House of Representatives' subcommittee meeting against a new Republican-sponsored bill that could preempt the county's new sick and paid leave law. The National Women's Law Center has described HR4219, the bill introduced in November and dubbed "Workflex in the 21st Century," as a way for employers to circumvent local and state paid sick and … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About the House Higher Education Act Bill

by CAP Postsecondary Education Team

12.07.17   Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unveiled its proposal for rewriting the Higher Education Act, the nation's main law governing postsecondary education. The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act is the beginning of an important conversation about what the future of learning beyond high school should look like in this country going forward. Unfortunately, the bill's vision of higher education is an emboldened indust… Continue Reading

The Child Care for Working Families Act Will Boost Employment and Create Jobs

by Ajay Chaudry and Katie Hamm

12.07.17   On September 14, 2017, Ingrid Henlon, a teacher at the Mount Olive Child Development Center in Hartford, Connecticut, stood in the U.S. Capitol alongside Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to unveil legislation aimed at making child care more affordable and improving conditions for child care workers.1 Henlon is a passionate teacher who describes her work as "educating our nation's future leaders." She has worked in early childhood education f… Continue Reading

Mostly White Male Tech Sector Needs Government Help On Diversity

by Joe Davidson

12.04.17   The technology sector is the vanguard of innovation, but it still looks like a good ol' boys network. Not only is it made up overwhelmingly of white men, but the percentage of tech workers who are black decreased in recent years, while the portion of women in the industry was stagnant and the level of Hispanic workers was nearly flat. A new report by Washington's chief watchdog says federal agencies can help change that by doing more to diversify the technology sector. That sector, like many … Continue Reading

New FAFSA Bill Would Help Low-Income Students Access Financial Aid

by Rosa Garcia

11.28.17   As college costs continue to rise, millions of low-income students, particularly students of color, are struggling to make ends meet. The Simple FAFSA Act, introduced last week, would increase support for working students, streamline the financial aid process, and expand access to more low-income students. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Gregorio Sablan (D-NMI-AL), and Ami Bera (D-CA). CLASP applauds many of the bill'… Continue Reading

For 45 Million Americans, Student Debt Could Be a Thing of the Past

by Kimberly Lawson

11.20.17   $65 billion. That's how much more, according to the American Council on Education (ACE), students would have to pay over the next decade to attend college if House Republicans working on the tax overhaul have their way. The plan, in short, eliminates some really important tax breaks that benefit students. And while the Senate's version maintains those benefits, ACE and other higher education advocates don't believe their plan will turn out to be much better for people interested in obtaining an … Continue Reading

As School Districts Push for Integration, Decades-Old Federal Rule Could Thwart Them

by Patrick Wall

11.17.17   In Florida, officials plan to use federal money to shuttle students across vast Miami-Dade County to new science-themed magnet programs in a bid to desegregate several schools. In South Carolina, a tiny district west of Myrtle Beach intends to spend federal funds on free busing for families who enroll at two predominantly black schools, hoping that will draw in white and Hispanic students. And in New York, state officials want to deploy federal school-improvement money to help integrate strugg… Continue Reading

How My Apprenticeship in N.J. Shaped My Future

by Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01)

11.14.17   When I was a kid, I was always the one taking apart our bicycles just to see how they worked. I loved working with my hands. Many kids and teens today are probably just like me, but instead of helping these students develop trade skills, we instead dissuade them and push them toward a "one-size-fits-all" traditional four-year college. An apprenticeship program shaped my life - taking me from construction work to Congress. Now, as a member of the House of Representatives, I'm fighting to raise w… Continue Reading

The GOP’s Tax Bill Is a War on Disabled People

by Elizabeth Picciuto

11.09.17   Under the Republicans' tax proposal, disabled people-and other vulnerable communities-are set to shoulder a significantly greater responsibility for generating federal tax revenue, even as corporations get a substantial tax break. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recommends sweeping eliminations of most itemized tax deductions and credits. Many of these deductions, taken together, serve both to ease the tax burden of people with disabilities and to improve their health and access to employment and the… Continue Reading

Don’t Let Congress Cheat Workers Out of Basic Rights

by Christine Owens

11.08.17   House Republicans on Tuesday took another step in their campaign to cheat workers out of fair pay and workplace rights. On a vote largely along party lines, the House advanced a bill to roll back longstanding "joint employer" protections for workers contracted by big companies like Apple or Alaska Airlines. For years, when two companies both control the terms and conditions of employment, they are also both considered responsible for workplace violations like wage theft, sexual harassment or sa… Continue Reading

Whistleblowing Could Leave Oil Rig Workers at Risk

by David S. Hilzenrath

11.07.17   After the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration and many Members of Congress reached the same conclusion: To prevent similar disasters, workers in the offshore oil and gas industry should be given whistleblower protections. They shouldn't have to worry that, if they report safety hazards, they could lose their jobs. "A whistleblower may be the only thing standing between a safe workplace and a catastrophe," George Miller, a California Democrat w… Continue Reading

GOP tax plan offers costly table scraps for the middle class

by Editorial Board

11.03.17   Even before the House Republicans released their tax plan on Thursday, polls showed that Americans weren't happy with its primary goal - lowering the corporate tax rate. Most people just don't see that as a pressing issue or economically beneficial. Even a majority of Republicans polled by the Pew Research Center this summer supported either raising corporate taxes or keeping the rates the same. So it's no surprise that House leaders have instead touted their plan as a "middle class tax cut," a … Continue Reading

Republicans break their promise on tax reform

by Editorial Board

11.02.17   REPUBLICANS PROMISED Americans a smart, careful tax reform that would simplify the code without adding a penny to the debt. The bill that House Republicans released Thursday betrays that promise. It also betrays the nation's children, and their children, who would eventually have to pay for this big, unpaid-for tax cut that the country does not need. Republicans began their tax reform effort months ago with a plausible argument. They could lower tax rates, particularly on corporations, if they … Continue Reading

House tax plan doesn’t cut it

by The Editorial Board

11.02.17   The hungry heart of the House tax bill unveiled Thursday can be found in the title President Trump reportedly proposed: the "Cut Cut Cut Act." Republican lawmakers ultimately went with something slightly less voracious, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," for legislation that offers small tax cuts to their ordinary constituents, big cuts to their wealthy friends and supporters (and often themselves), and the greatest cut of all to the federal government's bottom line. Tax reform is a laudable goal i… Continue Reading

Betsy DeVos guts school disability rules that once “confused” her

by Noah Kulwin

10.23.17   Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos revealed over the weekend that she had recently rescinded 72 memos that give guidance about how schools that receive public funding should implement and follow laws to protect the rights of disabled students. The memos dealt with two major pieces of legislation: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act. At the time of her Senate confirmation hearing in January, however, DeVos didn't appear to know what the Disabilities … Continue Reading

Betsy DeVos Slashed 72 Rules Protecting Students With Disabilities Because They’re “Unnecessary”

by Mehreen Kasana

10.23.17   On Friday, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services shared a newsletter that sparked outrage among some observers. The newsletter announced that 72 disability memos had been rescinded by Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education secretary. These were major guidance documents meant to help and protect the rights of students with disabilities. The two main legislative acts under attack are the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, otherwise known as IDEA, and the Rehabili… Continue Reading

DeVos rescinds 72 guidance documents outlining rights for disabled students

by Moriah Balingit

10.21.17   The Education Department has rescinded 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities as part of the Trump administration's effort to eliminate regulations it deems superfluous. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services wrote in a newsletter Friday that it had "a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective - 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilita… Continue Reading

Default Crisis for Black Student Borrowers

by Paul Fain

10.17.17   Two analyses of newly released federal data on student loans reveal serious default problems for African-American borrowers. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics published a report on patterns of student loan repayment for two groups of borrowers who first enrolled in college in 1995-1996 and in 2003-2004. Historically the department has not collected much data on student debt that can be broken out by the race or ethnic background of b… Continue Reading

White House tells court it is immediately stopping ACA cost-sharing subsidies

by Amy Goldstein

10.13.17   The Trump administration informed a federal appeals court on Friday that the government would immediately halt payments to insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage under the Affordable Care Act, formalizing a decision that could upend individual insurance markets across the country. In the filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, officials wrote that the Health and Human Services Department has stopped what's known as cost-sharing reduction payments… Continue Reading

Democrats Decry Betsy DeVos' Move to Prioritize 'Privatization'

by Alyson Klein

10.12.17   The leading Democrats on K-12 issues in Congress are not happy that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wants to make school choice a top priority when it comes to doling out federal grant money on a competitive basis. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., say that the move would help DeVos further "privatization" of public schools, without congressional approval. Earlier this year, lawmakers rejected Trump administration budget proposals to create a new voucher program a… Continue Reading

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