House Republicans Plot Return to Majority by Promoting Career and Technical Education, Veterans’ Higher Ed Benefits in New Agenda

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter 

In hopes of returning to the chamber’s majority, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) released Republicans’ upcoming congressional agenda, which aims to promote career and technical education while also expanding GI education benefits should the GOP pick up enough seats to claim a majority for the 117th Congress.

Under their outline released on Tuesday, Republicans specifically touted their “Renew the American Dream” platform as a means of  committing to higher education and workforce development, especially in light of the continued prevalence of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The American worker has faced unsettling changes in the workplace,” the pledge reads. “Now more than ever we must commit to offering every American worker the opportunity to learn new skills and thrive in industries that were out of reach before, and to support those who go to work outside traditional employment in the gig economy.”

McCarthy’s agenda also highlighted the need for tailoring veterans’ benefits to the individual rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system, and pointed to Rep. Phil Roe’s (R-Tenn.) legislation, the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET-TEC) Expansion Act as a means of reducing enrollment barriers for student veterans. Roe serves as ranking member on the Veterans’ Affairs committee and is retiring at the end of this session, so his legislation could be reintroduced next session by another Republican on the panel.

GI benefits have been a bipartisan issue for Congress — in 2017 lawmakers enacted legislation to expand program benefits, though the update has faced some implementation issues

At the outset of the coronavirus in March, Congress passed emergency legislation that ensured student veterans would continue to receive the full benefits of the GI Bill as colleges and universities across the country shifted to online-only classes.

“Twenty-three states will be sending out mail-in ballots by September 19 and polling suggests a near majority of Americans plan to submit their vote as soon as possible,” McCarthy wrote in an op-ed that outlined the agenda. “Say goodbye to the October surprise, Election Day is effectively here.”

 

Publication Date: 9/16/2020


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