Political briefs – Aug. 2


BROWN STATEMENT ON CONGRESS’ FAILURE TO RENEW EXPORT-IMPORT BANK – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following statement today on the House Republican majority’s failure to allow a vote to renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank before adjourning for August recess. Earlier this week, Brown helped the Senate pass an amendment, which was added to an underlying transportation bill, that would reauthorize the bank through September 2019.

“An overwhelming majority in Congress supports renewing the Export-Import Bank, but House Republican leaders won’t allow a vote because they are letting a handful of extreme ideologues dictate the agenda. The long-overdue vote in the Senate and continued inaction in the House mean that Ohio’s exporters, manufacturers, and workers are now facing a playing field that is tilting in favor of their foreign competitors. There are too many Ohio jobs and small businesses on the line to let Ex-Im wither away because of ideological squabbling within one political party.”

Since 2007, the Ex-Im Bank has provided direct financial assistance to more than 350 Ohio businesses – including 226 small businesses – to support $3 billion of exports. Its charter expired at the end of June. Brown released a county-by-county report in June detailing Ohio businesses that have relied on Ex-Im Bank funding over that period. Last year alone, the bank supported more than $250 million in Ohio exports – more than 60 percent of which were transactions done by small businesses.

BROWN INTRODUCES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR FURTHER RESEARCH AND AWARENESS OF SICKLE CELL TRAIT – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), introduced a resolution calling for greater research into sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease, and greater education and screening for sickle cell trait.

“Sickle cell trait can lead to many medical complications – but too often, individuals don’t even know they carry the trait,” said Brown. “As a nation, we must commit ourselves not just to gaining a better understanding of the trait and sickle cell disease through research, but must also develop a better strategy for helping patients understand their trait status and receive the appropriate counseling.”

Sickle cell disease, while considered a rare disease, is the most commonly inherited blood disorder in the United States and affects approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. More than three million people in the U.S. inherit 1 sickle cell gene, known as sickle cell trait, but are unaware that they have inherited the trait. The trait disproportionately affects African Americans and Hispanic Americans. One in 12 African Americans and one in 100 Hispanic Americans are at risk for carrying the sickle cell trait. Unfortunately, parents are typically unaware they carry the trait and are only notified of their child’s status approximately 37 percent of the time.

SEN. BROWN INTRODUCES BILL TO BAN COLLEGES FROM SPENDING FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID DOLLARS ON MARKETING AND RECRUITING – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act – legislation to maximize the value of federal student aid and taxpayer dollars by prohibiting the use of Pell Grants, federal student loans, and other federal education funds for advertising, marketing, and recruitment. Brown’s legislation would help ensure that colleges and universities – especially for-profit educational companies –use federal student assistance and taxpayer dollars for education. The Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act also prevents U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits from being used for marketing expenditures. A one-pager on the bill can be found here.

“Federal student aid and taxpayer dollars should be used to educate students, not fund corporate marketing campaigns,” Brown said. “Because of deceptive marketing practices, students looking for a quality college education can find themselves at for-profit institutions that are more concerned with profit margins than career readiness. This legislation would help ensure that all colleges make learning and instruction a priority.”

In 2009, fifteen of the largest for-profit education companies received 86 percent of their revenues from federal student aid programs. These for-profit education companies spent $3.7 billion dollars, or 23 percent of their budgets, on advertising, marketing and recruitment, which in many cases was aggressive and deceptive. In contrast, non-profit colleges and universities only spent one-half of one-percent of their revenues on marketing. Brown’s bill would require any college or university which receives more than 65 percent of its revenue from federal educational assistance funds to report its marketing spending to the U.S. Department of Education and to certify that no federal education dollars were spent on marketing.

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