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

Democrats in Congress Question DeVos on Relief For Defrauded Students

by Sara Weissman

12.12.19   Tensions ran high at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on Thursday, where Democrats questioned U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about her implementation of the borrower's defense rule, the provision that allows loan forgiveness for defrauded students. The hearing is a part of an ongoing saga over what will happen to student borrowers who attended for-profit colleges that misled them about school services or the value of their degrees. Democrats have criticized DeVos for fail… Continue Reading

House Education & Labor Committee Chairman Scott Praises "Future Act" Legislation to Fund Minority Colleges

12.10.19   Today, the House voted to pass the FUTURE Act, a bipartisan proposal to authorize permanent funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). The legislation, which comes after months of negotiation between House and Senate leaders, provides more than $250 million in mandatory funding per year for these institutions. It also facilitates stronger cooperation between the IRS and D… Continue Reading

Student Loan Crisis: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Suggests Separate Agency To Manage Student Debt

by Wesley Dockery

12.04.19   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested Tuesday that the United States should set up a separate federal agency dedicated to managing the country's $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. "One has to wonder: Why isn't [Federal Student Aid] a standalone government corporation, run by a professional, expert, and apolitical board of governors?" DeVos said at an annual conference hosted by the Education Department's FSA branch in Reno, Nevada. DeVos has claimed that the Federal Student … Continue Reading

Investigation Finds Significant Barriers To Pursuing IDEA Disputes

by Michelle Diament

12.04.19   The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides parents certain options if they're unsatisfied with the education that their children with disabilities are receiving, but government investigators say only some families are able to take advantage. Race and income level are playing a significant role in whether families pursue due process or take other steps toward dispute resolution allowed under federal special education law, the Government Accountability Office found. The nonpartisan… Continue Reading

GAO: Low-income and minority students face barriers resolving disputes over special ed services

by Naaz Modan

12.04.19   Dive Brief: Among families of students with disabilities, those with lower incomes and who have children of color are less likely than their affluent and white counterparts to access their legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office. Districts serving a higher percentage of students of color were the least likely to be involved in resolving disputes concerning how to meet a child's educatio… Continue Reading

Dems battle Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over student loan forgiveness

by Allisoin Winter

11.27.19   A long-simmering feud between U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and congressional Democrats over student loan forgiveness is heating up as several hundred thousand borrowers continue to wait for help on loans they claim were fraudulent. DeVos narrowly avoided a congressional subpoena earlier this month after a lengthy fight against the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor. Her critics in Congress say they still intend to haul her in for questioning over the Trump administration's cont… Continue Reading

US House considers College Affordability Act that could cut student costs

by Kaylsa To

11.15.19   A new bill may lower the cost of attending college and cut student debt if passed by Congress. The College Affordability Act was introduced in October in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill proposes lowering the cost of college, improving the quality of education and providing more opportunities and flexibility for college students. Democratic congressman Bobby Scott is the chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, the committee in which the bill was introduced, and represents … Continue Reading

DeVos Refuses Democrats’ Call to Testify on Student Loan Relief

by Andrew Kreighbaum

11.07.19   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday declined a demand from House Democrats to testify on student loan forgiveness, a move likely setting up a congressional subpoena to compel her to appear. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, has made repeated requests for DeVos to testify about the Education Department's inaction on debt relief applications-known as borrower defense claims-filed by former students of the shuttered for-profit Corinthian Colleges… Continue Reading

U.S. House Dems advance sweeping effort to lower higher education costs

by Allison Stevens

11.04.19   A U.S. House committee passed legislation Oct. 31 that supporters hailed as a "down payment" on a long-sought liberal goal: free college education for all. The sweeping measure from Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, aims to help more Americans of all backgrounds obtain high-quality college degrees by increasing affordability, accountability and accessibility in higher education. It would fund states that waive tuition at community colleges and invest… Continue Reading

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