Murray Demands Senate Republicans Stop Playing Politics with HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions, Continues Push for a Comprehensive Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
In a speech on the Senate floor, Murray urges the Senate to take up FUTURE Act and send it to the President’s desk
Murray: “Let's not threaten the funding for some of our most valuable institutions. We should pass the act right away. And then continue our committee's discussions.”
Murray: “Since the start of those discussions, I've been very clear. We need to do this reauthorization in a comprehensive way that really helps our students with the many challenges they face.”
***Watch Senator Murray’s Speech HERE***
Washington, D.C. – Today in a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), once again called for a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that addresses four core priorities she has consistently laid out: affordability, accessibility, accountability, and campus safety. Murray made clear that as conversations about reauthorizing the Higher Education Act continue in the HELP Committee, the Senate should waste no time in passing the FUTURE Act, legislation that would prevent a damaging lapse in funding for minority-serving institutions including HBCUs and tribal colleges.
“Let's not threaten the funding for some of our most valuable institutions. We should pass the act right away. And then continue our committee's discussions,” Senator Murray said. “Since the start of those discussions, I've been very clear. We need to do this authorization in a comprehensive way that really helps our students with the many challenges they face.”
Senator Murray’s full speech:
"Thank you, Mr. President.
“I want to thank my colleague from Alabama for his tremendous leadership on this really critical effort, because right now we are days away from a very damaging lapse in funding for our HBCUs, our tribal colleges and other minority-serving institutions, and that creates unnecessary and needless uncertainty for students in schools across the country.
“Now, Mr. President, both of my colleagues spoke of music and the need for harmony. Well, it appears to me that the bill that the senator from Alabama is asking us to approve today for the funding for HBCUs is a heck of a lot of harmony.
“So I am very frustrated about today's opposition to a very simple step to protect colleges and universities with such important missions. And, Mr. President, I really can't see a good reason why we haven't sent this president this bill yet.
“Now, I listened to the senator from Tennessee, and it sounds to me like he wants to write a whole new song. He's interested in a small package of higher education proposals, and he said he wanted to see the FUTURE Act as part of that.
“But it's pretty clear to me that when you have a good song and you have everybody together moving that - and maybe there is a discordant note somewhere - you just keep with that song, if we want to stay with the country music theme here.
“I believe we should not delay here. Let's not threaten the funding for some of our most valuable institutions. We should pass the act right away. And then continue our committee's discussions.
“Since the start of those discussions, I've been very clear. We need to do this reauthorization in a comprehensive way that really helps our students with the many challenges they face.
“We've got so many students today who are struggling with the burdensome cost of getting a agree, who find themselves cheated by bad actors, that by the way secretary DeVos is not holding accountable, and they are stuck with mounting debt.
“They face bullying, harassment, and assault when they should be focused on learning in their classes. Or their faced without pathways to help them get into higher education in the first place.
“The House today is rightly looking at a comprehensive Higher Education reauthorization to address all these issues of affordability and accessibility and campus safety. That's what the Senate should do as well.
“Surely the Senate can reach an agreement on those issues but only if we stay at the table and keep working together, rather than veering off the course we set, and it is what I am very concerned a smaller package would mean.
“I believe that we have a real opportunity to reach a comprehensive agreement that helps students in need, and we ought to take it. In the meantime, there is no excuse for playing politics, holding up the FUTURE act, and exposing students and schools nationwide to uncertainty and to dysfunction.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”
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