Urgent: Financial Aid Drug Vote May 25, 2000  

Urgent: Financial Aid Drug Vote May 25, 2000  
Posted by FoM on May 23, 2000 at 18:49:50 PT
For Immediate Release
Source: DRCNet
We are writing you on a matter of great and urgent importance.DRCNet has just learned that the Education and Workforce Committee of the US House of Representatives will vote this coming Thursday (5/25) on a set of amendments to the Higher Education Act (HEA). 
A provision of the HEA, set to become effective July 1, threatens to cut off hundreds of thousands of students from educational opportunity by delaying or denying federal financial aid eligibility for any drug conviction, no matter how minor.DRCNet has been working with students around the country since the provision passed in 1998, and over 20 student governments, including the United States Student Association, Association of Big Ten Schools, Student Association of the State University of New York and the United Council of University of Wisconsin Students, have passed resolutions calling for the provision's repeal. Major national organizations have also supported the campaign, including the NAACP, NOW, American Public Health Association, ACLU as well as educational groups and many others.This Thursday (5/25), amendments to the HEA will be discussed in the Education Committee that could make the drug provision better or could make it worse. THIS IS A CRITICAL TIME IN THE CAMPAIGN TO REPEAL THE HEA DRUG PROVISION. IF WE FAIL TO MAKE A GOOD SHOWING IN THURSDAY'S VOTE, THE CAMPAIGN'S LONG TERM CHANCES FOR SUCCESS COULD BE SUBSTANTIALLY SET BACK. Please contact the members of Congress listed below, and please visit the campaign web site at to let Congress know you're opposed to this law. Most importantly, please make phone calls or send individualized faxes as explained below. THIS IS A TIME WHEN PHONE CALLS AND INDIVIDUAL FAXES ARE NEEDED MORE THAN E-MAIL.Regardless of how you feel about drugs or the drug laws, we hope you'll agree that cutting off access to educational opportunity is counterproductive and detrimental to the future of our nation's youth and is an unnecessary and vindictive second punishment leveled against people who have already paid whatever price the criminal justice system demands. And regardless of whether you are a supporter of public education funding or a libertarian advocate of small government, we hope you'll agree that the higher education system should not be drafted as a new police force in the drug war.Whichever of these views you hold, please support the student campaign and join the growing national opposition to this harmful law. Please take the following steps today or Wednesday:1) Visit to send a free e-mail or fax to Congress; and please use the tell-a-friend form or forward this alert to let as many people know about this as possible.2) IMPORTANT: Your phone calls or faxes will make substantially more impact than your e-mails. Please call your representative on the phone and tell him or her that you oppose the Higher Education Act drug provision. Please also say you want your rep to support Bobby Scott's amendment to repeal the provision and to oppose the language in H.R. 4504 that would penalize students who leave the drug question blank. You can get phone and fax numbers for your Representative by visiting and typing in your name and mailing address, or just call the Congressional Switchboard at: (202) 224-3121.3) VERY IMPORTANT: If you live in the district of one of the representatives listed below, please make sure to call or fax.The members of the Education Committee need to be urged to support the Scott amendment, and the sponsors of H.R. 1053 (which would also repeal the drug provision) need to be encouraged to contact their colleagues on the committee. If you are extra-motivated, call all of them! (If you're not sure who your rep is, you can find out by visiting and typing in your address.)4) Last but not least, if you're involved with a campus organization that's been involved with this issue, please do what you can to activate your community on this before Thursday. Letters and phone calls from student governments that have endorsed the HEA reform resolution would be especially valuable, particularly from schools whose attendees may be constituents of the members listed above.Following are the lists of the key members, followed by some talking points to help you write or speak about this issue.DEMOCRATS ON THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE:The Democrats ought to be lining up with Bobby Scott, but the word is that many of them aren't. We urgently need to lobby Democrats on the committee in order to make as strong a showing as possible. Please urge them to support Bobby Scott's amendment to H.R. 4504 to repeal the HEA drug provision entirely, and to oppose language in the bill that would make students who leave the drug question blank ineligible for aid.YOU CAN DEFINITELY MAKE A DIFFERENCE HERE. Members whose names are marked with asterisks are also cosponsors of H.R. 1053, Rep. Barney Frank's bill to repeal the drug provision. Please thank them for supporting H.R. 1053 and ask them to do the same on Thursday by supporting Bobby Scott's amendment.CaliforniaMatthew G. MartinezPhone: 202-225-5464 Fax: 202-225-5467George Miller*Phone: 202-225-2095 Fax: 202-225-5609Loretta SanchezPhone: 202-225-2965 Fax: 202-225-5859Lynn C. Woolsey*Phone: 202-225-5161 Fax: 202-225-5163HawaiiPatsy T. Mink*Phone: 202-225-4906 Fax: 202-225-4987IndianaTim RoemerPhone: 202-225-3915 Fax: 202-225-6798MassachusettsJohn F. Tierney*Phone: 202-225-8020 Fax: 202-225-5915MichiganDale E. KildeePhone: 202-225-3611 Fax: 202-225-6393MissouriWilliam (Bill) ClayPhone: 202-225-2406 Fax: 202-225-1725New JerseyRobert E. AndrewsPhone: 202-225-6501 Fax: 202-225-6583Rush D. HoltPhone: 202-225-5801 Fax: 202-225-6025Donald M. Payne*Phone: 202-225-3436 Fax: 202-225-4160New YorkCarolyn McCarthyPhone: 202-225-5516 Fax: 202-225-5758Major R. OwensPhone: 202-225-6231 Fax: 202-226-0112OhioDennis J. KucinichPhone: 202-225-5871 Fax: 202-225-5745OregonDavid WuPhone: 202-225-0855 Fax: 202-225-9497PennsylvaniaChaka FattahPhone: 202-225-4001 Fax: 202-225-5392Puerto RicoCarlos A. Romero-BarceloPhone: 202-225-2615 Fax: 202-225-2154TennesseeHarold E. Ford, Jr.Phone: 202-225-3265 Fax: 202-225-5663TexasRuben HinojosaPhone: 202-225-2531 Fax: 202-225-5688VirginiaRobert C. ScottPhone: 202-225-8351 Fax: 202-225-8354WisconsinRon KindPhone: 202-225-5506 Fax: 202-225-5739REPUBLICANS ON THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE:Please ask the Republicans to reconsider their support of the HEA drug provision and to support Bobby Scott's amendment to repeal it. Tell them the compromise language in H.R. 4504 isn't good enough, and in some ways would make the provision worse.(While the bill would exempt would-be students who are applying for aid for the first time, it would also make students who failed to answer the drug question ineligible.) The Republicans are unlikely to support us, but we have to try -- maybe our efforts will help our supporters in the committee win a compromise, and there are a few moderates among them.ARIZONAMatt SalamonPhone: 202-225-2635 Fax: 202-225-3405CALIFORNIAHoward P. McKeonPhone: 202-225-1956 Fax: 202-226-0683COLORADOBob SchafferPhone: 202-225-4676 Fax: 202-225-5870Thomas G. TancredoPhone: 202-225-7882 Fax: 202-226-4623DELAWAREMichael N. CastlePhone: 202-225-4165 Fax: 202-225-2291GEORGIANathan DealPhone: 202-225-5211 Fax: 202-225-8272Charlie NorwoodPhone: 202-225-4101INDIANADavid M. McIntoshPhone: 202-225-3021 Fax: 202-225-3382Mark E. SouderPhone: 202-225-4436 Fax: 202-225-3479KENTUCKYErnie FletcherPhone: 202-225-4706 Fax: 202-225-2122MICHIGANVernon J. EhlersPhone: 202-225-3831 Fax: 202-225-5144Peter HoekstraPhone: 202-225-4401 Fax: 202-226-0779Fred UptonPhone: 202-225-3761 Fax: 202-225-4986MISSOURIJames M. TalentPhone: 202-225-2561 Fax: 202-225-2563NEBRASKABill BarrettPhone: 202-225-4155 Fax: 202-226-5452NORTH CAROLINACass BallengerPhone: 202-225-2476 Fax: 202-225-0316NEW JERSEYMarge RoukemaPhone: 202-225-4465 Fax: 202-225-7768OHIOJohn A. BoehnerPhone: 202-225-6205 Fax: 202-225-0704PENNSYLVANIAWilliam F. Goodling, ChairmanPhone: 202-225-5836 Fax: 202-226-1000James C. GreenwoodPhone: 202-225-4276 Fax: 202-225-9511SOUTH CAROLINAJim DeMintPhone: 202-225-6030 Fax: 202-226-1177Lindsey O. GrahamPhone: 202-225-5301 Fax: 202-225-3216TENNESSEEVan HillearyPhone: 202-225-6831 Fax: 202-225-3272TEXASSam JohnsonPhone: 202-225-4201 Fax: 202-225-4201Ron PaulPhone: 202-225-2831 Fax: 202-226-4871WISCONSINThomas E. Petri, Vice ChairmanPhone: 202-225-2476 Fax: 202-225-2356COSPONSORS OF H.R. 1053:Please call the cosponsors of H.R. 1053, Barney Frank's bill to repeal the HEA drug provision, and ask them to ask their colleagues on the Education Committee to support Bobby Scott's amendment to repeal the provision and to oppose the language in H.R. 4504 that would make students who left the drug question blank on the financial aid form ineligible. (A few of the cosponsors are also members of the Education Committee.)CALIFORNIAAnna EshooPhone: 202-225-8104 Fax: 202-225-8890Barbara LeePhone: 202-225-2661 Fax: 202-225-9817George MillerINFO LISTED ABOVEPeter Fortney StarkPhone: 202-225-5065 Fax: 202-226-3805Maxine WatersPhone: 202-225-2201 Fax: 202-225-7854Lynn C. WoolseyINFO LISTED ABOVEDISTRICT OF COLUMBIAEleanor Holmes NortonPhone: 202-225-8050 Fax: 202-225-3002GEORGIAJohn LewisPhone: 202-225-3801 Fax: 202-225-0351GUAMRobert A. UnderwoodPhone: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341HAWAIINeil AbercrombiePhone: 202-225-2726 Fax: 202-225-4580Patsy T. MinkINFO LISTED ABOVEILLINOISJanice D. SchakowskyPhone: 202-225-2111 Fax: 202-226-6890LOUISIANAWilliam JeffersonPhone: 202-225-6636 Fax: 202-225-1988MAINEJohn E. BaldacciPhone: 202-225-6306 Fax: 202-225-2943MASSACHUSETTSMichael CapuanoPhone: 202-225-5111 Fax: 202-225-9322John F. TierneyINFO LISTED ABOVEMICHIGANCarolyn C. KilpatrickPhone: 202-225-2261 Fax: 202-225-5730MINNESOTABruce F. VentoPhone: 202-225-6631 Fax: 202-225-1968NEW JERSEYDonald M. PayneINFO LISTED ABOVENEW YORKMaurice HincheyPhone: 202-225-6335 Fax: 202-226-0774Jerrold NadlerPhone: 202-225-5635 Fax: 202-225-6923Charles RangelPhone: 202-225-4365 Fax: 202-225-0816NORTH CAROLINAMelvin WattPhone: 202-225-1510 Fax: 202-225-1512OREGONPeter DeFazioPhone: 202-225-6416 Fax: 202-225-0032TEXASEddie Bernice JohnsonPhone: 202-225-8885 Fax: 202-226-1477TALKING POINTS: * Judges already have the power to rescind financial aid eligibility as individual cases warrant. The HEA drug provision removes that discretion. * The vast majority of Americans convicted of a drug offense are convicted of non-violent, low-level possession. * The HEA drug provision represents a penalty levied only on the poor and the working class; wealthier students will not have the doors of college closed to them for want of financial aid. * The HEA drug provision will also have a disparate impact on different races. African Americans, for example, who comprise 13% of the population and 13% of all drug users, account for more than 55% of those convicted of drug charges. * No other class of offense carries automatic loss of financial aid eligibility. * Access to a college education is the surest route to the mainstream economy and a crime-free life.For further information on the HEA reform campaign, Visit: and click on "Why HEA Reform?" And visit to learn more about the student HEA reform campaign and how to get involved (see for a current list of endorsers.) Visit DRCNet at for much more information on the impact of the drug war on society.To subscribe to DRCNet's weekly newsletter and action alert list, Visit: and enter your name, e-mail address and state in the "quick-signup form" to the right side of the page. To unsubscribe from DRCNet, send e-mail to listproc with the words signoff drc-natl as the message (not the subject), or e-mail listhelp for assistance.DRCNet needs your support! Please visit our registration form at to make a donation on our encryption-secured credit card form or enter your name, address and pledge amount to print out and send in with your check. Or just send checks or money orders to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036-8402, or call your credit card info in to (202) 293-8340.Related Articles:Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan Bust = No Student Loans Loans for Student Drug Offenders New Financial Aid Policy an Injustice 
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