With the unanimous support of the Connecticut delegation, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a landmark education bill, and both houses of Congress approved a five-year transportation bill that will send billions of dollars to the state.
House votes to return control of key education policies to the states
The House of Representatives, in 359-64 vote, approved an education bill that would eliminate the much-reviled Bush-era “No Child Left Behind” bill. Connecticut’s unions hope the Every Student Succeeds Act, which returns much authority over K-12 education policy to the states and local school systems, ushers in new changes in the state, especially the end of linkage between test scores and teacher evaluations. Connecticut education officials said they want to keep many of the changes they have made under waivers from No Child Left Behind mandates, including testing students on Common Core standards and the state’s approach to rating schools and improving low-performing ones. The Senate is expected to approve the education bill next week.
Long-awaited five-year transportation bill to send CT $3.5 billion
In another rare, bipartisan move, Congress approved a five-year transportation bill that will provide Connecticut with more than $3.5 billion to spend on roads, bridges and transit programs. It would also reauthorize the Export-Import bank, a government-chartered corporation that helps Connecticut companies, including General Electric and United Technologies, sell their products overseas.
Largely symbolic gun vote ends with familiar result
There was also customary partisanship in Congress this week. During the Senate debate on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal pressed for votes on two gun safety amendments. One would expand FBI background checks of prospective gun owners, the other would add the names of people on a terrorist watch list to those barred from purchasing a firearm. The largely symbolic effort was propelled by the mass shooting this week in San Bernadino. But both amendments were defeated.
Congress votes to repeal Obamacare despite ‘no’ votes from CT
The Senate passed a bill, approved last month by the House, that would repeal the Affordable Care Act – and defund Planned Parenthood. Needless to say, Connecticut’s Democratic lawmakers did not support that bill, which will be vetoed by President Obama.