Patrick Leahy on Education
Democratic Sr Senator (VT)
Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.
Vote on the passage of the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Pres. Bush then vetoed the Bill.
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 and 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 H.R. 3043
; vote number 2007-391
on Oct 23, 2007
Voted YES on $52M for "21st century community learning centers".
To increase appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century community learning centers. Voting YES would increase funding by $51.9 million for after school programs run by the 21st century community learning centers and would decrease funding by $51.9 million for salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor.
Reference: Amendment to Agencies Appropriations Act;
Bill S Amdt 2287 to HR 3010
; vote number 2005-279
on Oct 27, 2005
Voted YES on $5B for grants to local educational agencies.
To provide an additional $5 billion for title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Voting YES would provide:
Reference: Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment;
Bill S Amdt 2275 to HR 3010
; vote number 2005-269
on Oct 26, 2005
- $2.5 billion for targeting grants to local educational agencies
- $2.5 billion for education finance incentive grants
Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.
Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution that would adjust education funding while still reducing the deficit by $5.4 billion. A YES vote would:
Reference: Kennedy amendment relative to education funding;
Bill S AMDT 177 to S Con Res 18
; vote number 2005-68
on Mar 17, 2005
- Restore education program cuts slated for vocational education, adult education, GEAR UP, and TRIO.
- Increase the maximum Pell Grant scholarship to $4,500 immediately.
- Increases future math and science teacher student loan forgiveness to $23,000.
- Pay for the education funding by closing $10.8 billion in corporate tax loopholes.
Voted YES on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.
Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
; vote number 2001-103
on May 15, 2001
Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors.
Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
; vote number 2001-99
on May 10, 2001
Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.
Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Bill H Con Res 83
; vote number 2001-69
on Apr 4, 2001
Voted NO on Educational Savings Accounts.
Vote to pass a bill that would permit tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses.
; vote number 2000-33
on Mar 2, 2000
Voted NO on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules.
This vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill aimed at allowing states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. [A YES vote implies support of charter schools and vouchers].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)55; N)39; NV)6
Reference: Motion to Invoke cloture on Jeffords Amdt #31;
Bill S. 280
; vote number 1999-35
on Mar 9, 1999
Voted NO on education savings accounts.
This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report;
Bill H.R. 2646
; vote number 1998-169
on Jun 24, 1998
Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education.
Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Bill S 1956
; vote number 1996-231
on Jul 23, 1996
Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.
Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
; vote number 1994-236
on Jul 27, 1994
Voted YES on national education standards.
Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act;
Bill H.R. 1804
; vote number 1994-34
on Feb 8, 1994
More foreign languages courses and exchange students.
Leahy co-sponsored a Resolution on international education policy
Concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should establish an international education policy to enhance national security, significantly further U.S. foreign policy and economic competitiveness, and promote mutual understanding and cooperation among nations. Includes among policy objectives:
Source: Resolution sponsored by 12 Senators 01-SR7 on Feb 1, 2001
- producing citizens with a high level of international experience;
- promoting greater diversity of locations, languages, and subjects involved in teaching, research, and study abroad;
- increasing participation in internships abroad;
- invigorating citizen and professional international exchange programs;
- supporting visas and employment policies that promote increased numbers of international students;
- encouraging programs that begin foreign language learning in the United States at an early age;
- promoting educational exchanges and research collaboration with American educational institutions abroad; and
- promoting partnerships among government, business, and educational institutions and organizations to provide adequate resources for implementing this policy.
Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.
Leahy scores 100% by the NEA on public education issues
The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:
To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education."
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003
$25B to renovate or repair elementary schools.
Leahy signed Fix America's Schools Today Act (FAST)
Fix America's Schools Today (FAST) Act of 2011:
Source: HR2948&S1597 11-S1597 on Sep 21, 2011
- Authorizes $25 billion to carry out this title, which shall be available until Sept. 30, 2012
- Allocates grants to states and, through them, subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to modernize, renovate, or repair early learning or elementary or secondary education facilities.
- Requires grants be allocated directly to the 100 LEAs with the largest numbers of children aged 5-17 living in poverty, to modernize, renovate, or repair such facilities.
- Requires states to give subgrant priority to projects that comply with certain green building standards.
- Prohibits the use of such grants for new construction or routine maintenance costs.
- Reserves funds for a survey, by the National Center for Education Statistics, of nationwide public school construction, modernization, renovation, and repair needs.
Allocates grants to states to modernize, renovate, or repair existing facilities at community colleges.
- Requires, with certain exceptions, the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in projects funded by this Act to be domestic.
- Applies the prevailing wage rate requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act to projects assisted pursuant to this Act.
Sponsored extending subsidized federal student loan rates until 2015.
Leahy co-sponsored Student Loan Affordability Act
Congressional Summary:Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the 3.4% interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford loans to loans first disbursed to undergraduate students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015. Replaces the [termination date of] 2013 with 2015.
Proponent's argument for bill:(US PIRG press release): The Student Loan Affordability Act keeps interest rates affordable for students over the next two years. If Congress fails to act by July 1, interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. That would hike the cost of college by $1,000 per student, per loan, for over 7 million students across the country. The bill pays for extending the current interest rates through 2015 by closing three non-education tax loopholes.
Opponent's argument against bill:(Rep. Tom Cotton, R-AR): Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It's causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans--regardless of the interest rate--taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout--a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn't have to bear. A better path is to let Arkansas's hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business.
Source: S.707 / H.R.1433 13-S707 on Apr 11, 2013
Make two years of community college free.
Leahy signed making two years of community college free
Excerpts from press release from Tammy Baldwin, Senate sponsor: The America's College Promise Act makes two years of community college free by:
Community, technical, and tribal colleges enroll 40% of all college students today. Community colleges are uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing and advanced manufacturing.
- Providing a federal match of $3 for every $1 invested by the state to waive community college tuition and fees for eligible students;
- Ensuring that programs offer academic credits which are fully transferable to four-year institutions in their state;
- Establishing a new grant program to provide pathways to success at minority-serving institutions by helping them cover a significant portion of tuition and fees for the first two years of attendance for low-income students.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "College
Courtesy of the Taxpayer? No Thanks," Jan. 9, 2015): One look at either community college outcomes or labor market outlooks reveals free college to be educational folly. Community college completion rates are atrocious: a mere 19.5% of community college students complete their programs. Meanwhile, the for-profit sector has an almost 63% completion rate. And [about 70%] of the new job categories in coming years will require a high school diploma or less.
Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Free Community College Is a Bad Deal", July 15, 2016): Free college proposals would subject community colleges to the same types of subsidies-induced inflation endemic at four-year institutions. And low-income students already have access to federal Pell Grants, which can cover the bulk of community college tuition. By contrast, a more open market of alternative schooling models, such as online or vocational education programs, could better tailor degrees at a lower cost.
Source: America's College Promise Act 15-S1716 on Jul 8, 2015
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Page last updated: Jul 16, 2020