December 15, 2007 EE Legislation Update

Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) – TREMENDOUS PROGRESS!

Senate: HESA was introduced on Monday, December 10, in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray. As a highly respected senior Senate leader and a strong education and environment supporter, Senator Murray is the perfect champion for HESA. HESA (S. 2444) is co-sponsored by Senators Bingaman, Dodd, Kennedy, and Kerry. Such a powerful list of co-sponsors puts HESA in an excellent position!

House: On November 9, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller unveiled the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (HR 4137) that reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. At the request of many of the 19 co-sponsors of HESA, Chairman Miller included HESA in HR 4137. This was another major accomplishment by all the HESA supporters.

On November 14, the House Committee marked up HR 4137 and unanimously voted to send it to the full House, another promising step forward. We expect the House to vote on HR 4137 in January. If it passes, then the next step is to insure that it stays in the final bill that reconciles differences with the Senate version of the Higher Education Act already passed (S. 1642). The current total of new higher education programs in both the House and Senate bills is over 30, so HESA has some stiff competition for remaining in the final bill.

Our sincere thanks to those of you who helped enlist the impressive list of HESA endorsers and House and Senate co-sponsors. We are getting close to winning passage of this important bill. But we can’t let up yet. Our efforts are now focused on enlisting additional Senate co-sponsors, especially from the following Members of the HELP Committee:

  • Michael Enzi (R-WY)
  • Judd Gregg (R-NH)
  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
  • Wayne Allard (R-CO)

These Senators want to hear from colleges and universities in their states about the importance of HESA, so we need your help in getting schools in these states to contact them. For more detailed information on how to do this, click here.

And of course, if your school or association has yet to join the impressive list of prominent HESA endorsers, please do so ASAP.