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Emmanuel Cleaver on Education

Democratic Representative (MO-5)

 


Adequately fund educational measures in Congress

Ensuring our children’s future through a quality education will remain one of my priorities in Congress. Measures passed in Congress need to be adequately funded in order to provide our school systems with the tools and training necessary to educate our children.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, CleaverforCongress.com , Nov 2, 2004

Voted YES on $40B for green public schools.

Congressional Summary:Make grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, including early learning facilities and charter schools, to make them safe, healthy, high-performing, and technologically up-to-date.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. BETSY MARKEY (D, CO-4): This legislation will improve the learning environment for our children, reduce energy costs and create new jobs across the country. Green schools not only save school districts money but also teach the importance of sustainable living to children at a young age.

Opponent's argument to vote No: Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R, PA-5): We all know our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. The bill we're debating today would add an estimated $40 billion in new spending. And despite the majority's hollow promises of fiscal responsibility, there's nothing in the legislation to offset this hefty price tag with spending reductions elsewhere. This is just more of the same borrow and spend, spend and borrow policy that we've seen under this majority and this administration.

Reference: 21st Century Green Schools Act; Bill H.R.2187 ; vote number 2009-H259 on May 14, 2009

Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Veto override on the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Labor. Original bill passed & was then vetoed by the President.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-1122 on Nov 15, 2007

Voted NO on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance.

Amendment to preserve the authority of the US Supreme Court to decide any question pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill underlying this amendment would disallow any federal courts from hearing cases concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. This amendment would make an exception for the Supreme Court.

Proponents support voting YES because:

I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance with its use of the phrase "under God" is entirely consistent with our Nation's cultural and historic traditions. I also believe that the Court holding that use of this phrase is unconstitutional is wrong. But this court-stripping bill is not necessary. This legislation would bar a Federal court, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the Pledge on first amendment grounds.

If we are a Nation of laws, we must be committed to allowing courts to decide what the law is. This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional. It would contradict the principle of Marbury v. Madison, intrude on the principles of separation of powers, and degrade our independent Federal judiciary.

Opponents support voting NO because:

I was disappointed 4 years ago when two judges of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our Pledge, our statement of shared national values, was somehow unconstitutional. I do not take legislation that removes an issue from the jurisdiction of this court system lightly. This legislation is appropriate, however, because of the egregious conduct of the courts in dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.

By striking "under God" from the Pledge, the Court has shown contempt for the Congress which approved the language, and, more importantly, shows a complete disregard for the millions of Americans who proudly recite the Pledge as a statement of our shared national values and aspirations. No one is required to recite the Pledge if they disagree with its message.

Reference: Watt amendment to Pledge Protection Act; Bill H R 2389 ; vote number 2006-384 on Jul 19, 2006

Voted YES on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say:
  • The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.
  • It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.
  • As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
    Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act; Bill HR 609 Amendment 772 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 30, 2006

    $25B to renovate or repair elementary schools.

    Cleaver signed Fix America's Schools Today Act (FAST)

    Source: HR2948&S1597 11-HR2948 on Sep 15, 2011

    Sponsored 10/10 Loan Forgiveness: cancel college loans after 10 years.

    Cleaver co-sponsored Student Loan Fairness Act

    Congressional Summary:Student Loan Fairness Act:

    Opponent's argument against bill: (Blog post on voices.yahoo.com, "Why I'm Against the Student Loan Fairness Act"): The two key points to this bill are:

    1. The 10-10 plan: Where an individual would be required to make ten years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which their remaining federal student loan debt would be forgiven.
    2. Cap federal interest rates at 3.4% and allowing existing borrowers whose educational loan debt exceeds their income to convert their private loan debt into federal Direct Loans.
        Sounds enticing enough. They make a convincing argument that convinced over 200,000 people to sign their petition, many of whom shared their personal stories of student debt and how this act would change their lives. I disagree with all of them.
      • First, there is already student loan forgiveness act that erases your loans after 20 years. It is called Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
      • Many people who signed the petition argued that the government bailed out the banks, so why not us? The main difference [with TARP is that] most banks paid back the loans from TARP [while student loan forgiveness will make] $1 trillion magically disappear.
      • If the average college graduate is 22 years old, then we are talking about being debt free by 32. That is a risk I see many young college students willing to take.
      Source: H.R.1330 13-H1330 on Mar 21, 2013

      No-strings-attached block grant will kill transparency.

      Cleaver voted NAY A-PLUS Amendment To Student Success Act

      Heritage Action Summary: An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). The amendment, known as A-PLUS (Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success), would give the states the ability to consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.

      Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (7/8/2015): A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind's prescriptive programmatic requirements. At its core, A-PLUS delivers on the promise of "restoring state and local control over the 10% of education funding financed by the federal government," moving dollars out of the hands of federal bureaucrats and political appointees and into the hands of those closer to the students. Now is the time for Congress to restore federalism in education, empower parents and students instead of bureaucrats and unions, and remove archaic obstacles that have prevented true opportunity for all.

      US News and World Report recommendation to vote NO: (4/7/2015): A-PLUS [is intended as] a no-strings-attached block grant. There isn't all that much the federal government can do well in education, but it's because of federally-required transparency that charter schools and voucher schools can demonstrate that they work. For example, New York City's Success Academy scores in the top 1% of all the state's public schools in math and in the top 3% in English. When Success Academy came under fire from teachers' union-backed Mayor Bill de Blasio, it was able to fight back with numbers to prove it. If a strong-union state were to receive a no-strings-attached block grant, transparency would be the first thing to go. A no-strings-attached block grant is an overreaction to federal overreach.

      Legislative outcome: Failed House 195 to 235 (no Senate vote)

      Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0005 argued on Jul 8, 2015

      Oppose private and religious school voucher programs.

      Cleaver voted NAY SOAR Act

      Heritage Action Summary: The House will vote to reauthorize the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 10). The bill would continue funding through Fiscal Year 2021 and allow eligible students in Washington, D.C. to enroll in a participating private school.Analysis by Heritage Action:

      ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (Letter to U.S.House, 3/29/2011): The ACLU urges Congress to oppose the SOAR Act, legislation to restart and expand Washington DC's failed private and religious school voucher pilot program. Originally started as a five-year pilot program in 2004, the DC voucher program is the nation's first and only federally-funded private and religious school voucher program. Under the federal voucher pilot program, funds were provided to schools even though they infuse their curricular materials with specific religious content and even though they are not covered by many of the nation's civil rights statutes that would otherwise protect students against discrimination. Additionally, each of the congressionally-mandated studies to explore the pilot program concluded that the voucher program had no significant effect on the academic achievement.

      Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (4/28/2016): The Obama administration has repeatedly worked to undermine or eliminate the DC school choice program, even though it has the support of local Democratic politicians such as the DC Mayor and a majority of the DC City Council. Low-income students shouldn't be condemned to low-quality schools just because their parents cannot afford a home in a wealthy neighborhood. The DC program was an important step toward breaking the link between home prices and school quality.

      Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 240-191-3; never came to a vote in the Senate.

      Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0010 argued on Oct 21, 2015

      2017-18 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Education: Emmanuel Cleaver on other issues:
      MO Gubernatorial:
      Chris Koster
      Eric Greitens
      Mike Parson
      Peter Kinder
      MO Senatorial:
      Angelica Earl
      Austin Petersen
      Claire McCaskill
      Jason Kander
      Josh Hawley
      Roy Blunt
      Tony Monetti

      Freshman class of 2019:
      "Freshman class" means "not in Congress in January 2017", with exceptions:
      * Special election, so sworn in prior to Jan. 2019
      ** Served in Congress in a previous term
      *** Lost recount or general election
      Freshman class of January 2019 (Republicans):
      AZ-8*:Lesko
      CA-39***:Kim
      FL-6:Waltz ; FL-15:Spano ; FL-17:Steube
      GA-7:Woodall
      ID-1**:Fulcher
      IN-4:Baird
      KS-2:Watkins
      MN-1:Hagedorn ; MN-8:Stauber
      MS-3:Guest
      MT-0*:Gianforte
      NC-9***:Harris
      ND-a:Armstrong
      NM-2***:Herrell
      OH-6:Gonzalez ; OH-12*:Balderson
      OK-1:Hern
      PA-9:Meuser ; PA-11:Smucker ; PA-13:Joyce ; PA-14:Reschenthaler
      SC-4:Timmons
      SD-0:Johnson
      TN-2:Burchett ; TN-6:Rose ; TN-7:Green
      TX-2:Crenshaw ; TX-3:Taylor ; TX-5:Gooden ; TX-6:Wright ; TX-21:Roy ; TX-27*:Cloud
      VA-5:Riggleman ; VA-6:Cline
      WI-1:Steil
      WV-3:Miller
      Freshman class of January 2019 (Democrats):
      AZ-2**:Kirkpatrick ; AZ-9:Stanton
      CA-49:Levin ; CA-10:Harder ; CA-25:Hill ; CA-39:Cisneros ; CA-45:Porter ; CA-48:Rouda
      CO-2:Neguse ; CO-6:Crow
      CT-5:Hayes
      FL-26:Mucarsel-Powell ; FL-27:Shalala
      GA-6:McBath
      HI-1**:Case
      IA-1:Finkenauer ; IA-3:Axne
      IL-4:Garcia ; IL-6:Casten ; IL-14:Underwood
      KS-3:Davids
      KY-6***:McGrath
      MA-3:Trahan ; MA-7:Pressley
      MD-6:Trone
      ME-2:Golden
      MI-8:Slotkin ; MI-9:Levin ; MI-13:Tlaib ; MI-13*:Jones ; MI-11:Stevens
      MN-2:Craig ; MN-3:Phillips ; MN-5:Omar
      NC-9***:McCready
      NH-1:Pappas
      NJ-2:Van Drew ; NJ-3:Kim ; NJ-7:Malinowski ; NJ-11:Sherrill
      NM-1:Haaland ; NM-2:Torres Small
      NV-3:Lee ; NV-4**:Horsford
      NY-14:Ocasio-Cortez ; NY-11:Rose ; NY-19:Delgado ; NY-22:Brindisi ; NY-25:Morelle
      OK-5:Horn
      PA-4:Dean ; PA-5:Scanlon ; PA-6:Houlahan ; PA-7:Wild ; PA-17*:Lamb
      SC-1:Cunningham
      TX-7:Fletcher ; TX-16:Escobar ; TX-29:Garcia ; TX-32:Allred
      UT-4:McAdams
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      WA-8:Schrier
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      Page last updated: Dec 29, 2018