Tag Archives: funding

Children’s Health Insurance Program is set to go bust

If you’re waiting and wondering what the future holds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the answer most likely depends on where you live.

CHIP is a popular, bipartisan program that provides a safety net for nearly 9 million kids in low- and mid-income families. It’s the latest pawn in the Congressional wrangling over health care. Both the Senate and House are debating bills to reauthorize CHIP funding, and both are considering these bills after the Sept. 30 deadline for reauthorization has passed.

“CHIP has always had bipartisan support since it started 20 years ago,” said Jesse Cross-Call, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). “So it has really been a surprise that it’s taking this long to get it funded. Congress has never blown past the deadline before, so we’re in uncharted territory.”

Missing the deadline means an estimated 11 states will run out of federal CHIP money by the end of this year, and 32 states are expected to run out of money by March 2018, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Senator McCain: “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal”

Image: Quartz

 

Once again, senator John McCain is thwarting the Republican party’s effort to repeal Obamacare. A new proposal was advanced this week by senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. While the bill hasn’t yet been analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), preliminary studies estimate that it would cause 21 million Americans to lose insurance, and would cut funding (paywall) for 34 states. The bill would also allow insurers to hike premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, despite its sponsors’ repeated claims that it wouldn’t.

via Senator McCain: “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal” — Quartz

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Trump questions whether key funding source for historically black colleges is constitutional


President Trump talks with leaders of historically black colleges and universities before posing for a group photo in the Oval Office in February. (Brendan Smialowski/Agence-France Presse via Getty Images)

In February, President Trump invited leaders from historically black colleges and universities to the White House, a move they hoped signaled his support for the institutions and showed an effort to give them more clout in his administration. But critics had a more cynical description of the Oval Office meeting: a photo op.

Those naysayers got more ammunition Friday after the White House released a signing statement connected to the recently approved federal funding measure. Tucked away in the last paragraph, the White House announced that it would treat a program that helps HBCUs get low-cost construction loans “in a manner consistent with the (Constitutional) requirement to afford equal protection of the laws.”

People in higher education circles worried that the statement meant that the president was planning to get rid of a capital financing program that helps historically black colleges repair, renovate and build new facilities. Congress approved the program in 1992 after finding that “HBCUs often face significant challenges in accessing traditional funding resources at reasonable rates,” according to the Education Department.

“I would rather have Trump do nothing with HBCUs — not even know they exist,” Marybeth Gasman, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has researched HBCU history, told The Washington Post. “He will see them as a handout. He doesn’t understand that he was given a leg up by his rich father. He doesn’t see that other people need help from programs because of past discrimination and inequity.”

Trump’s signing statement was blasted by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“Trump’s statement is not only misinformed factually, it is not grounded in any serious constitutional analysis,” their joint statement said. “For a President who pledged to reach out to African Americans and other minorities, this statement is stunningly careless and divisive. We urge him to reconsider immediately.”

The White House said on Saturday that none of the objections cited in Trump’s signing statement signaled immediate policy changes, but were intended to preserve the president’s legal options down the line.

Trump meets with Congressional Black Caucus

 President Trump on March 22 met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the White House. “African American citizens have given so much to this country,” Trump said. (The Washington Post)

Then, late Sunday, the president himself tried to clarify the signing statement, saying it “does not affect my unwavering support for HBCUs and their critical education missions.”

“In February of this year, I signed an Executive Order pledging to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education; to ensure equitable opportunities for HBCUs to participate in Federal programs; and to increase the number of college-educated Americans who feel empowered and able to advance the common good at home and abroad,” Trump said in a statement. “My commitment to the above-stated goals remains unchanged.”

The signing statement was noticed by the United Negro College Fund, which told The Post it had an informal conversation with administration officials about the HBCU loan program. The takeaway: It’s too soon to worry.

“We’re not overly alarmed at this point, based on informal reassurances and just our own knowledge of how these funding statement get put together,” Cheryl L. Smith, UNCF senior vice president of public policy and government affairs, told The Post.

She called the White House’s statement part of a “mixed record” from the administration toward HBCUs since Trump took office in January.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s first visit to a school was to Howard University, the federally chartered historically black college in the District.

And in February, after the Oval Office meeting with HBCU leaders, Vice President Pence told them, “The president and I admire the contributions of historically black colleges and universities.” He also said the Trump administration is committed to ensuring that HBCUs “get the credit and attention they deserve.”

The origins of HBCUs and why they are now struggling

Historically black colleges and universities were created before the 1960s. Many of them are now struggling financially, and the Trump administration says they will help.(Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

But many were offended when DeVos issued a statement after the meeting that praised historically black colleges as pioneers of school choice. The schools were founded at a time of racial segregation. DeVos clarified her remarks the next day, making clear that African Americans had very limited educational opportunities at the time HBCUs were started.

At that meeting, Republican lawmakers met with nearly all the HBCU presidents, listening to their concerns and priorities. The outreach from Republican leaders, however, did not translate into increased funding for the schools in the president’s budget proposal.

Historically black colleges have often looked to Democrats as natural allies, but over the past 50 years or so, HBCUs have had bipartisan support, with relatively steady funding over that time.

Student and parent debt and low graduation rates have long been concerns for many historically black colleges, but their proponents say they are essential in educating black leaders.

According to the Education Department, three-quarters of all doctorates awarded to black people, three-quarters of all black officers in the U.S. military and 80 percent of black federal judges got their undergraduate degrees at an HBCU.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the president and chief executive of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, praised the budget proposal in a written statement Friday. “Let me be clear: flat spending for HBCUs in a president’s budget that calls for a 13 percent funding decrease to the Department of Education is a win!

“… Not everyone is happy though — some are critical of President Trump because they believe he should have significantly increased the budget for HBCUs.

“Such notions are naive in the current political environment in Washington, now run by Republicans who’ve vowed to reduce the size of government.”

In a public statement Saturday, Taylor responded to the signing provision, saying the fund had spoken to the administration and was assured there was “absolutely no plan to eliminate or challenge this program.

“We have shared with the White House our assertion that the HBCU program is not at all a race-based government effort and therefore doesn’t raise any equal protection or due process concerns because participation in the program is limited to HBCUs. HBCUs serve some of the most diverse populations in this nation and three TMCF member-schools enroll more white students than black students: West Virginia State University, Bluefield State College, and Lincoln University of Missouri.”

The United Negro College Fund, in a statement, said that they had sought clarification from the White House, as well, about the statement, and received informal assurance from White House officials that the paragraph is not intended to indicate any policy change toward HBCUs and that the Administration intends to implement the HBCU Capital Financing Program.

“Nonetheless, UNCF urges the White House to issue an official clarification of its policy to the HBCU community, as the HBCU Capital Financing program has provided tremendous value to HBCUs and the students they serve over the past 25 years.”

They gave examples of how the capital financing program has benefited such schools, allowing Bethune-Cookman University to renovate a student center and provide new student housing, Johnson C. Smith University to build a new science and technology center and so on. The program, they wrote, by statute bases eligibility not on race but on “mission, accreditation status and year the institution was established. Today, 101 HBCUs qualify for this assistance, many of which have a racially diverse student enrollment, faculty and staff.”

For example, they noted, Bluefield State College in West Virginia is designated as an HBCU, but enrolls a population that is 85 percent white and only 9 percent African American.

“The provision in President Trump’s signing statement regarding this critical HBCU program may simply be lawyers at the Office of Management and Budget being overly cautious and perhaps not fully understanding the legal basis for federal HBCU programs,” the UNCF statement continued.

“However, these programs have been thoroughly vetted by the Congress and prior Administrations, and the new Administration must eliminate any doubt as to their Constitutionality. UNCF looks forward to working with the White House and the U.S. Department of Education to continue to communicate the importance of this program and others that positively impact HBCUs and the students they have served for more than 150 years.”

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Susan Svrluga/WashingtonPost

Posted by The NON-Conformist

HBCUs, advocates looking for help from Trump on funding

The nation’s historically black colleges and universities are pushing for President Donald Trump to set aside more federal contracts and grants for their schools, and take a greater hand in their welfare by moving responsibility for a key program for those colleges to the White House.

President Donald Trump shakes hands as he meets with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The presidents of the nation’s 100-plus HBCUs, pressing their case for greater attention from the new Republican-controlled government, met with Trump briefly in the Oval Office and later with Vice President Mike Pence. On Tuesday, they planned to meet with GOP lawmakers.

 “Know that beginning today, this administration is committed to ensuring that historically black colleges and universities get the credit and the attention they deserve,” Pence said after the meeting. “Our administration at the president’s direction is working to find new ways to expand your impact so that more students, especially in the underserved communities of this country, have a chance at a quality education.”
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State funding church: 93 percent of ‘scholarship program’ vouchers go to religious schools

Image: Shutterstock

In this year alone the state of North Carolina has spent $12 million on what they refer to as Opportunity Scholarships, which exist to help lower income families move their children from public to private schools. Of that $12 million, approximately $11 million has gone to faith-based schools and only $800,000 to secular schools.

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What Can Hillary Clinton Or Bernie Sanders Do To Save The Nation’s HBCU’s?

Image: Black America Web.com

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has promised to revitalize historically black colleges if she is elected to the White House.

“We’re going to work closely with (HBCUs) … because they serve some of America’s brightest students, who need the most support and too often have gotten the least of it,” Clinton wrote in a position paper.

Clinton’s plan for financing education includes a $25 billion fund to support private nonprofit schools that serve low and middle-income students, which includes HBCUs.

According to a September 2014 policy paper from the University of Pennsylvania, about 28,000 HBCU students were unable to cover their tuition costs.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a packed rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta last month that 5,000 people attended. Sanders is trying hard to court Black voters. He knows Clinton has broad support in the African-American community but he believes he can galvanize young African-Americans and challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

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Congress Sends Department Of Homeland Security Funding Bill To Obama

Source: Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)

Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year, without overturning the president’s immigration policies.

The House on Tuesday voted 257-167 for the measure that Obama is expected to sign. Without action, funding for the department would have expired Friday at midnight.

The outcome was a victory for Obama and Democrats, and a defeat for the GOP strategy of trying to overturn Obama’s executive actions on immigration by linking them to funding for Homeland.

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