News

DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools

by Erica Green

05.15.20   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using the $2 trillion coronavirus stabilization law to throw a lifeline to education sectors she has long championed, directing millions of federal dollars intended primarily for public schools and colleges to private and religious schools. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed in late March, included $30 billion for education institutions turned upside down by the pandemic shutdowns, about $14 billion for higher education, $13.5 billi… Continue Reading


OSHA has issued no Covid-19 citations

by Rebecca Rainey

05.14.20   Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal agency that polices workplace safety has initiated inspections into only about 7 percent of the Covid-19-related complaints that it's received - and issued citations in none. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, whose Cabinet department includes that agency - the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - says he stands ready to punish employers who don't protect workers sufficiently from the coronavirus. "We recognize," Scalia said May 1… Continue Reading


House Bill Backs SEP, COBRA, Cost-Free COVID Treatment

by Amy Lotven

05.13.20   House Democrats' $3 trillion coronavirus response bill unveiled Wednesday (May 12) would require HHS establish and promote an eight-week special enrollment period for healthcare.gov, would fully subsidize COBRA coverage, and would mandate that group and individual health plans provide COVID treatment cost-free to enrollees. It also would pump an additional $100 billion into the Health Care Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act and designate $75 billion for testing and contract tracing, … Continue Reading


K-12 school leaders warn of ‘disaster’ from huge coronavirus-related budget cuts as layoffs and furloughs begin

by Valerie Strauss

05.07.20   Just as they face unprecedented new challenges and financial costs, leaders of K-12 public school districts around the country are warning of dire consequences from sharp budget cuts from state legislatures attempting to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The alarm was sounded by school superintendents in 62 cities, who sent a letter to Congress through the nonprofit Council for the Great City Schools, asking Congress for billions of dollars in new federal education … Continue Reading


Trump orders meat plants to stay open in pandemic

by Taylor Telford, Kimberly Kindy, Jacob Bogage

04.28.20   President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday evening compelling meat processors to remain open to head off shortages in the nation's food supply chains, despite mounting reports of plant worker deaths due to covid-19. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to classify meat plants as essential infrastructure that must remain open. Under the order, the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to a person familiar with the action who sp… Continue Reading


House chairman calls on Trump administration to appoint medical supply coordinator

by CRISTINA MARCOS

03.20.20   House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) on Friday called on the Trump administration to appoint a designated official to coordinate the efforts to distribute adequate protective gear and supplies to health workers across the United States. In a letter to Vice President Pence, the chairman of the coronavirus task force, Scott and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) argued that having someone dedicated to addressing the nationwide shortage of medical supplies would help improve coor… Continue Reading


Senate Rejects DeVos Rule Restricting Debt Relief for Bilked Students

by Erica L. Green and Stacy Cowley

03.11.20   WASHINGTON - In a bipartisan rebuke, the Senate voted Wednesday to overturn a major Trump administration rule that would sharply limit debt relief for students misled by schools that lured them in with false claims about their graduates' career and earning prospects. In a 53-42 vote that included 11 Republicans, the Senate struck down a revised Education Department rule finalized in September by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The House passed a companion resolution in January. The legislation… Continue Reading


This regulation could protect health-care workers from the coronavirus. It hangs in limbo.

by Kimberly Kindy

03.05.20   As more than 100 hospital workers remain in self-imposed quarantine in California, a proposed regulation designed to protect them from infectious diseases such as the coronavirus languishes inside a federal agency. The draft regulation would require employers to provide protective gear for health-care workers and to create infection-control plans, which could include building isolation rooms. The Obama administration was working to adopt the regulation, but the Trump administration in 2017 … Continue Reading


“Lax Oversight” Threatens Health Fund For Miners With Black Lung, Watchdog Finds

by SYDNEY BOLES

02.27.20   Just three bankruptcies of American coal companies have added more than $800 million in costs to a federal government program that funds health care for disabled coal miners, the Government Accountability said in a report released Wednesday. The report comes after a 2018 analysis by the same agency which found the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund faced significant financial challenges, and had borrowed taxpayer money to cover necessary expenses nearly every year since 1979. This new research sh… Continue Reading


House passes bill to rewrite labor laws and strengthen unions

by Eli Rosenberg

02.07.20   One of the most significant bills to strengthen workers' abilities to organize in the past 80 years passed the House on Thursday, the latest sign of momentum for the labor movement. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, known as the PRO Act, would amend some of the country's decades-old labor laws to give workers more power during disputes at work, add penalties for companies that retaliate against workers who organize and grant some hundreds of thousands of workers collective-bargainin… Continue Reading


Business Congress’s most ambitious attempt to strengthen unions in years is set for a House vote next week

by Eli Rosenberg

01.29.20   One of the most significant bills to strengthen workers' abilities to organize in the past 80 years is headed to a vote next week in the House, where it will probably pass amid a newfound momentum for progressive legislation. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would amend some of the country's decades-old labor laws to give workers more power during disputes at work, add penalties for companies that violate labor law, and grant potentially hundreds of thousands of workers collective-b… Continue Reading


Supreme Court Allows Trump’s Wealth Test for Green Cards

by Adam Liptak

01.27.20   The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to move forward with plans to deny green cards to immigrants who are thought to be likely to make even occasional and minor use of public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court's conservative justices in the majority. The court's brief order gave no reasons for lifting preliminary injunctions that had blocked the new program. Challenges to the program will continue to move forward… Continue Reading


House lawmakers ‘extremely concerned’ about impacts of EEOC’s proposed official time policy

by Nicole Ogrysko

01.23.20   Two House committee leaders said they're skeptical of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's plans to reverse a 40-year-old federal rule allowing union representatives official time to prepare discrimination complaints on behalf of their coworkers. EEOC detailed those plans in a proposed rule back in December, which earned harsh criticism from federal employee unions. "We are extremely concerned about the potential effects of this proposed rule on the enforcement of employment anti-disc… Continue Reading


Religious School Choice Case May Yield Landmark Supreme Court Decision

by Erica L. Green

01.21.20   A potentially landmark education case before the Supreme Court on Wednesday has pulled in heavy hitters on both sides of the school choice debate who are trying to shape a ruling that could end decades of wrangling over school vouchers and religious education. Oral arguments in the case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, have attracted briefs from President Trump's Justice Department, which hopes the high court will bolster the administration's marquee education issue: public funding f… Continue Reading


Democrats vote to overturn Betsy DeVos rules on student debt

by Aarthi Swaminathan

01.16.20   The House Labor and Education Committee voted on legislation Thursday that would overturn Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' new policy on student debt discharge that goes into effect on July 1st, 2020. Obama-era rules, which provided relief for students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges and ended up bearing student loans to that school. Since assuming her position, Secretary DeVos has "openly refused to implement the Borrower Defense rule, which has left hundreds of thousands of defraude… Continue Reading


Pregnancy Bias Bill Gets Tentative House Committee Markup

by Jaclyn Diaz

01.07.20   The House Education and Labor Committee will mark up Democratic-led legislation that would make it easier for pregnant workers to get reasonable accommodations from their employers, and is meant to solve ambiguities left by the U.S. Supreme Court. The panel tentatively plans to take up the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694) on Jan. 14, a Democratic committee staffer told Bloomberg Law. The bill, which has backing from several notable companies, is expected to be approved largely along pa… Continue Reading


Democrats to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar: Abandon Plan to Undermine Civil Rights Protections

12.23.19   On Friday, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (MA-01), and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar regarding the weakening of civil rights provisions by HHS. In the letter, the lawmakers asked the Department to abandon its proposal t… Continue Reading


AFT President Weingarten and Virginia Rep. Scott Denounce Fifth Circuit Court Obamacare Ruling

12.19.19   Yesterday, the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the ruling in the Texas v. United States Affordable Care Act case: "While today's ruling will not pose an immediate change for the Affordable Care Act, it does present a major threat to the tens of millions of Americans who currently rely on the law for healthcare. "If the court ultimately rules that the individual mandate cannot be 'severed' from the other provisions of the Affordable C… Continue Reading


Congressional leader claims Department of Education misses the point when it comes to defrauded students

by Gary Guthrie

12.18.19   In the wake of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' appearance in front of a congressional subcommittee, Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) has gone on record saying that the Department of Education's revised plan for helping defrauded students is inadequate. The biggest burr in Scott's saddle continues to be that DeVos' proposal only provides partial relief to students who borrowed money to attend for-profit colleges and wound up defrauded by those very schools. Scott said DeVos' plan "makes clear th… Continue Reading


Democrats, DeVos Clash in Fiery Hearing That Turned Personal

by Collin Blinkley

12.12.19   "When you approach a public school, you are protested. When you enter, you are booed," Wilson said. "You are the most unpopular person in our government. Millions will register to vote in 2020. Many will vote to remove you more than to remove the president." DeVos did not immediately respond, but the remark drew quick condemnation from Republicans. Rep. Virginia Foxx, the ranking Republican, interrupted to call the comment "absolutely over the line," saying it would not have been allowed on the… Continue Reading

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