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Harkin Expresses Disappointment About House Markup of Partisan Education Bills

WASHINGTON – Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) today expressed disappointment that the Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce pushed through two partisan bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act despite concerns raised by all Committee Democrats.  Today’s markup stands in sharp contrast to last fall’s HELP Committee bipartisan vote to approve comprehensive legislation after consideration and adoption of amendments from both sides of the aisle.

“Time and again, I’ve heard my House Republican colleagues agree that our children can’t wait for a better education system, but today, they’ve walked away from that urgency by pushing through partisan legislation that sets our students back.  The House Republican bill fails to ensure that students graduate ready for college and careers, and clears the way for states to cut education funding.  It also undermines education quality for some of our most vulnerable students, including low-income students, students with disabilities and English learners. 

“There’s no doubt that achieving bipartisan consensus on a critical and complex issue like education reform is difficult.  But it is not impossible – we’ve been able to achieve it for decades on education, and even in this partisan environment we achieved it just last fall in the HELP Committee.  I am disappointed that my House Republican colleagues have chosen to abandon decades of bipartisanship at this important moment, but continue to hope that they will rethink that approach so we can work together to strengthen education for all of America’s students.”