Patty Murray on Education

Democratic Sr Senator (WA)


Forgive student loans if college goes bankrupt

The Department of Education said it will cancel $150 million of student loan debt, impacting about 15,000 people whose schools closed. The Obama-era borrower defense relief program--which essentially ground to a halt under Education Secretary Betsy Devos--provided a path for people to seek forgiveness for federal student loans if a shuttered school violated specific laws or misled students.

[After a lawsuit], about 15,000 people have been flagged by the Education Department as eligible. About $80 million of the $150 million debt is attributed to the now-defunct Corinthian schools.

"This is a good first step, but it's not good enough," said Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Education Committee. She called on DeVos to "abandon her attempts to rewrite the borrower defense rule to let for-profit colleges off the hook and instead fully implement the current rule and provide relief to more than 100,000 borrowers who were cheated out of their education and savings."

Source: Fox News on 2018 Trump Administration, "$150M student debt" , Dec 15, 2018

Foster educational inclusion as America grows more diverse

Senate Democrats sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticizing and demanding answers on affirmative action guidance that was rescinded by Sessions last month:

"While the law is clear and unchanged--that diversity is a compelling government interest that permits race conscious admission--retracting this guidance will make it more challenging for school districts and colleges to understand your Departments' enforcement of the law to ensure the institution is in compliance," the 21 senators wrote, led by Patty Murray & Dianne Feinstein.

They continued: "As our country continues to grow more diverse, we need policies that foster diversity and inclusion, not suppress them." The information the Democrats want include who Sessions and DeVos consulted before making the decision to revoke the guidance and a list of the complaints of discrimination based on race or ethnicity from schools closed by the Department of Education.

Source: WAAY-TV ABC-31 on 2018 Trump Administration , Aug 7, 2018

Increase funding for Pell Grants and HOPE scholarships

I have been working to increase funding for Pell Grants and HOPE Scholarships as well as other programs that help with the cost of a college education. I have opposed the Bush administrationís proposal to cut higher education funding and change student loan rules to increase the financial burden on college students.
Source: WA Senate Debate , Oct 20, 2004

Strong public education at core of every other issue

Murray's primary passion has been public education. She believes that a strong education system is at the core of virtually every other issue in government. "It has been our commitment to public education that has strengthened the core principles of our nation's democracy and has spearheaded all of the enormous progress we've enjoyed over the last century," she explains. "If we expect to bring a new generation forward into the next century, then we have an obligation to provide them with exceptional educational opportunities. And that means strong public schools, more teachers, and smaller classroom sizes." In the Senate, Murray had been known for her commonsense approach to improving public education.
Source: Nine and Counting, by Catherine Whitney, p.151 , Jul 25, 2000

$1.2B to hire 29,000 new elementary school teachers

In January 1998, when President Clinton proposed the idea of hiring 100,000 new teachers and paying for them with a new tax on tobacco, Murray was galvanized. This was legislation she was willing to go to the mat for. If successful, it would support one of her most important education goals: the reduction of class sizes.

Murray's legislation was defeated twice along partisan lines. In the meantime the Clinton proposal of a further tax on tobacco was defeated as well.

She had one remaining angle--finding seed money in the federal budget. Finally her efforts paid off. Murray was able to gain a 1 year appropriation of $1.2 billion to hire and train 29,000 new elementary school teachers for kindergarten through 3rd grade across the country.

Source: Nine and Counting, by Catherine Whitney, p.151-152 , Jul 25, 2000

Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Vote on the passage of the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Pres. Bush then vetoed the Bill.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority and duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-391 on Oct 23, 2007

Voted YES on $52M for "21st century community learning centers".

To increase appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century community learning centers. Voting YES would increase funding by $51.9 million for after school programs run by the 21st century community learning centers and would decrease funding by $51.9 million for salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor.
Reference: Amendment to Agencies Appropriations Act; Bill S Amdt 2287 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-279 on Oct 27, 2005

Voted YES on $5B for grants to local educational agencies.

To provide an additional $5 billion for title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Voting YES would provide:
Reference: Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment; Bill S Amdt 2275 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-269 on Oct 26, 2005

Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.

Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution that would adjust education funding while still reducing the deficit by $5.4 billion. A YES vote would:
Reference: Kennedy amendment relative to education funding; Bill S AMDT 177 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-68 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.

Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-103 on May 15, 2001

Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors.

Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-99 on May 10, 2001

Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.

Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Reference: Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-69 on Apr 4, 2001

Voted NO on Educational Savings Accounts.

Vote to pass a bill that would permit tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses.
Reference: Bill S.1134 ; vote number 2000-33 on Mar 2, 2000

Voted NO on education savings accounts.

This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report; Bill H.R. 2646 ; vote number 1998-169 on Jun 24, 1998

Voted NO on school vouchers in DC.

This legislation would have amended the DC spending measure, imposing an unconstitutional school voucher program on the District.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)58; N)41; NV)1
Reference: DC Appropriations Act; Bill S. 1156 ; vote number 1997-260 on Sep 30, 1997

Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education.

Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-231 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.

Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
Reference: Bill S.1513 ; vote number 1994-236 on Jul 27, 1994

Voted YES on national education standards.

Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act; Bill H.R. 1804 ; vote number 1994-34 on Feb 8, 1994

Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.

Murray scores 100% by the NEA on public education issues

The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

Opposes voluntary prayer in public schools.

Murray opposes the CC survey question on school prayer

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Voluntary prayer in public schools and facilities"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q4 on Aug 11, 2010

Recruit women & minorities for STEM teaching.

Murray co-sponsored S2710 & HR4803