Health-Care Repeal Bill Would Also Eliminate Community College and Career Training Program
The Novemeber elections dramatically changed the political calculus in Washington, setting the U.S. House of Representatives as Republican majority while the Senate remains Democrat-controlled. At the direction of the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) board of directors, AACC has encouraged its members to educate new legislators on the role that the federal government plays in helping community colleges fulfill their missions. The role starts with ensuring that everyone who wants to attend a community college can afford to do so. Our own president, Dr. Jim Kerley, has been actively involved in these summits.
On October 5, 2010, Jill Biden convened the summit to highlight community colleges’ role in developing America’s workforce and reaching the President’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. Those White House Summit Papers can be read here. You can also read more about the White House Summit on AACC’s website.
However, as one of their first orders of business in the new Congress, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is planning a vote this week on legislation to repeal the health care reform legislation enacted last year. The Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (H.R. 2) [act can be read here]is a one-page bill that repeals the main health-care bill and health-care items in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
As you may remember from a post we wrote last week, the Education Reconciliation Act set up provisions that ended the bank-based student loan program and applied the resulting savings to the Pell Grant program and other such programs, increasing the amount awarded by the Pell Grant scholarship. The act was a part of the reconciliation acts proposed and funded by the health care writing committees in order to get the Health Care Reform Act passed.
If the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (H.R. 2) were to pass, the $2 billion in funding for the Community College and Career Training Program that was included in the health care reform section of the reconciliation bill would be eliminated.
H.R.2 is expected to pass the House, but is unlikely to pass the Senate and would certainly face a presidential veto if it were to somehow pass.
AACC has written to the House of Representatives and urged it not to reduce funding for community colleges in this legislation. You may also want to do so as well, emphasizing the important role that community colleges play in delivering the education and job-training needs of its community. Note that the institutions need and are counting on this funding. But please be aware that legislators who will be voting for this legislation are not generally actively choosing to de-fund community colleges — they will acting on the health care provisions. The loss of funding for community colleges and career training programs would be an unfortunate consequence of the repealing of the health care reform act.
This is not just a community college issue, this is a community issue and we urge everyone to contact their representatives and let them know how they feel about the issue. If you are not familiar with your new representatives and you wish to contact them, please visit the AACC webiste for assistance.