Lobbying Report –September 2011

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Lobbying on Capitol Hill:  Terrie Tudor, Jim Grimes, Eric Brown, Alex Wallace, Tom Tully, Joyce Bailey, Vickie Mahrt, Student Director Matt Hiser, IEA Vice. Pres. Kathi Griffin, IEA Sec-Treas. Al Llorens.  IEA Pres. Cinda Klickna participated in NEA Fund for Children and Public Education meetings.

Issues shared with Members of Congress included:  President Obama’s American Jobs Act, The Congressional “Super Committee” on the Debt and Deficit, ESEA (No Child Left Behind) Reauthorization, and Social Security Fairness—the repeal of GPO-WEP penalties.

NEA supports the American Jobs Act in order to create and save thousands of education jobs, provide funding for Community Colleges and otherwise deal with the current unemployment challenges.  The Association is also concerned that the “Super Committee” might make dangerous cuts to Medicaid, the only source for health care coverage for more than 30% of our students.  Your lobby team also urged congressional members to follow NEA’s lead in fixing ESEA.  The Senators and Representatives were also urged to co-sponsor the new Social Security Fairness bill to reform GPO-WEP.

Some of your Illinois delegation attended the Thursday breakfast hosted by Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.  Your NEA Illinois Team then moved to Capitol Hill House and Senate offices to meet with Congress Members and or their staff:  Danny Davis, Robert Dold, Don Manzullo, Mike Quigley, Tim Johnson, Jerry Costello, Dan Lipinski, Judy Biggert, Mark Kirk, John Shimkus, Bobby Schilling; Joe Walsh, Aaron Schock, Randy Hultgren, Jan Schakowsky, and Jesse Jackson Jr.

Comments from Members of Congress:

Senator Kirk described a program entitled “Entrepreneurial Idol” that he is working on with Congressman Jackson and Chicago State University.  This program, which they hope to launch in October, is designed to encourage members of the community to come up with a plan for a business. Sen. Kirk is also sponsoring new education legislation on charter Schools. NEA Director Vickie Mahrt, IEA V.P. Kathi Griffin and IEA Sec.-Treas. Al Llorens, are all members of the Senator Kirk’s State Education Advisory Committee.   Sen. Kirk was asked why he went forward with proposed education legislation (Charter Schools) without contacting any member of his committee.  We didn’t receive an answer, however our point was noted.

Congresswoman Biggert is hoping that the new Illinois Congressional Map will be changed in the courts.  IEA/NEA leaders do not believe that the courts will overturn the maps.  She shared that she will run probably against Bill Foster in the new congressional district that has about 45% of her current district constituents.

Rep. Davis said jobs have to be the thing that spurs this economy.  He feels that there is no way to encourage the rich to create jobs and the government has to do something.  And Davis feels that the Tea Party folks are not only hard headed they are hard hearted.  He said that Democrats are trying to hold the line on spending cuts and social security, etc.

Rep. Dold said he supports using growth model assessments in the reauthorization of ESEA.  He says that teachers should help determine accountability measures.  Dold doesn’t like the idea of designating schools as “failing,” and that targets need to be “reasonable.” He supports continuing to disaggregate assessment data.

With ESEA, Rep. Manzullo says he wants more freedom for local government to make decisions.  He wants ESEA to come out in a series of small bills, saying that large bills are not as good as small ones.  With respect to the American Jobs Act, Manzullo asks how to pay for it.  He doesn’t want anything that adds to the deficit.  He opposes any tax increases.

Cong. Shimkus opposes what he calls “the all or nothing approach of President Obama.”  He said that coal should not be attacked as a way to pay for the jobs bill.  He opposes continuing the payroll tax cut “because he is concerned it will hurt entitlements” (social security).  He says employers are concerned that extending unemployment compensation is holding some back from accepting jobs. Surprisingly, Shimkus is open to new revenues if they are part of a tax reform package.  He wishes Speaker Boehner had not boxed in the Super Committee with a line in the sand on taxes.  Shimkus feels both sides must get together and compromise is possible.  He added that big bill on the debt and deficit could include repeal of GPO-WEP as part of entitlement adjustments, and could be used to sell modifications to social security entitlements such as retirement age, etc.

IEA-NEA members are urged to visit EducationVotes.NEA.org for the latest legislative action in Washington.  Contact your Members of Congress in support of NEA issues.

 

Lobby Report – NEA Board of Directors – May 2011

Lobbying on Capitol Hill: Mike Orr, Gary Miller, Al Llorens, Kathi Griffin, Terrie Tudor, Jim Grimes, Eric Brown, and Katie Kreis.  Also lobbying were IEA Officers Bob Blade and Cinda Klickna.  Directors-elect Alex Wallace, Jr., Joyce Bailey, Tom Tully, and Vickie Mahrt accompanied the teams on Capitol Hill.

Thursday morning, some of your Illinois delegation attended an NEA legislative reception for members of the 112th Congress at the Rayburn House Office Building.  Several others visited with Senators Durbin and Kirk at The Hart Senate Office Building for the Senators’ regular Thursday morning meeting with Illinois residents.

Directors then headed for House and Senate offices to lobby Members of Congress and meet with congressional staff members on three major topics:

  • NEA believes that a reauthorized ESEA law should require collaboration at the local level on development of plans and making of decisions that impact teaching and learning. Each Senator & Representative was asked to support the idea of collaboration, and was also asked to co-sponsor one or more of the 57 NEA supported ESEA bills currently in Congress.
  • NEA opposes tying an increase in the nation’s debt limit to adoption of a cap on all federal spending that would force massive cuts to education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Each member was asked to oppose such a cap.
  • NEA is looking for co-sponsors and support for passage of the Annual National Classified School Employee of the Year Award Act.

The Illinois delegation split up and visited with the following members and/or their staff:  Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-17), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-5), Rep. Tim Johnson (R-15), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-14), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1), Rep. Peter Roskam (R-6), Rp. Jerry Costello (D-12), Rep. Judy Biggert (R-14), Rep. John Shimkus (R-19), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rep. Robert Dold (R-10).

Comments from Members of Congress:

Sen. Durbin is concerned that the cost of reforming GPO-WEP will prevent it from happening, and that everyone may need to be brought into the Social Security System.

Sen. Kirk was concerned about any tax increases.  Both senators agreed that there will be cuts to federal programs.

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