Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Withdraw Proposed "Gainful Employment" Regulation

Letter

By:  Frederica Wilson Eliot Engel Steve Stivers Stephen Fincher Francisco Canseco Brett Guthrie Tom Price Jo Bonner, Jr. Ander Crenshaw Bob Goodlatte Steve LaTourette Bill Johnson Mark Critz Rob Andrews Mike Fitzpatrick Mike Kelly Marsha Blackburn Todd Akin Reid Ribble Doug Lamborn Scott DesJarlais Michael McCaul Steve Israel Brian Bilbray Kristi Noem Paul Tonko Blake Farenthold Devin Nunes Cathy McMorris Rodgers Roscoe Bartlett Aaron Schock Vern Buchanan Ed Towns Virginia Foxx Allen West David Schweikert Mario Diaz-Balart David McKinley Candice Miller Richard Hanna Chip Cravaack Tom McClintock Alan Nunnelee Loretta Sanchez Bennie Thompson Adrian Smith Dennis Ross Randy Hultgren John Kline Bobby Scott Todd Rokita Sandy Adams Spencer Bachus Rob Bishop Jim Matheson Randy Neugebauer Tim Murphy Donald Payne Tom Petri Carolyn McCarthy Todd Young Pat Meehan Lou Barletta Mike Doyle Shelley Berkley Mac Thornberry Jim Gerlach Ted Deutch Bill Posey Bobby Schilling Alcee Hastings, Sr. David Rivera Pat Tiberi Don Manzullo John Carter Buck McKeon John Barrow Trent Franks Lynn Jenkins Henry Cuellar Lynn Westmoreland Daniel Webster Jason Chaffetz Thaddeus McCotter Ed Pastor Rich Nugent Tim Griffin Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. Thomas Holden Duncan Hunter Jeff Flake Kay Granger Tim Walberg Jeb Hensarling Bill Shuster Tom Marino Judy Biggert Mike Conaway Erik Paulsen Phil Roe Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Todd Platts Michele Bachmann Dan Burton Jason Altmire Dean Heller Tim Ryan David Scott Ron Paul G.T. Thompson, Jr. André Carson Gus Bilirakis Steve Austria Pete Sessions
Date: April 27, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and a group 113 Members of Congress sent the following bipartisan letter to President Obama requesting that the Department of Education (DOE) withdraw its proposed "gainful employment" regulation. This regulation would place arbitrary restrictions on private-sector colleges and universities that would disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged students. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 1, the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, by a vote of 289-136, which would have blocked the implementation of this regulation. Furthermore, the letter expresses disappointment that this language was not included in the final legislation, which appropriated funds through the end of Fiscal Year 2011. It also urges the administration to withdraw this regulation and work with Congress to enact meaningful reforms to our nation's higher education system that preserve access to postsecondary education and expand career choices for all Americans. (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter).

April 27, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to express our disappointment that language was not included in the final, compromise funding measure for fiscal year 2011 prohibiting the Department of Education from implementing its misguided regulation defining "gainful employment."

In your first State of the Union, you proclaimed the United States would once again lead the world in college graduates by 2020. However, contrary to this objective, the Department's arbitrary proposed rules on private sector colleges and universities will disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged of students and limit access to one of the few sectors of higher education that continually evolves to meet workforce needs.

While the regulations attempt to address real problems, they miss the target. Instead, the implementation of these new rules will be so burdensome and the projected impact so broad that many reputable schools, particularly those serving the most at-risk students, will be adversely impacted. These rules will limit student access to higher education while failing to effectively address problem schools and rising student debt.

Today, over 3 million students attend career colleges. Seventy-six percent of these students live independently, without parental support. Sixty-three percent are 24 years old or older. Fifty-four percent delayed postsecondary education after high school. Forty-seven percent have dependent children, and almost one-third of these students are single parents. The Department's suggested approach will harm these nontraditional and lower-income students who have no choice but to rely on student loans to pursue a postsecondary education and need the flexibility career colleges provide.

Given the significant impact of this proposed rule, the only responsible course of action is for the Department to completely withdraw this regulation and work with Congress to develop policies that truly protect taxpayer funds and measure and improve educational quality across all sectors of higher education.

The House of Representatives passed by a wide, bipartisan vote of 289 to136 an amendment to H.R. 1, the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, which would have done just that. Though we are disappointed this language was not included in the final legislation, we hope that as we move forward, you will encourage the Department to jettison its current rule and work with us to enact meaningful reforms to our higher education system that preserve access to postsecondary education and expand career choices for all Americans.

Sincerely,

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

John Kline
Member of Congress

Robert E. Andrews
Member of Congress

Virginia Foxx
Member of Congress

Donald M. Payne
Member of Congress

Carolyn McCarthy
Member of Congress

Sandy Adams
Member of Congress

Todd Akin
Member of Congress

Jason Altmire
Member of Congress

Steve Austria
Member of Congress

Michele Bachmann
Member of Congress

Spencer Bachus
Member of Congress

Lou Barletta
Member of Congress

John Barrow
Member of Congress

Roscoe Bartlett
Member of Congress

Shelley Berkley
Member of Congress

Judy Biggert
Member of Congress

Brian P. Bilbray
Member of Congress

Gus Bilirakis
Member of Congress

Rob Bishop
Member of Congress

Marsha Blackburn
Member of Congress

Jo Bonner
Member of Congress

Vern Buchanan
Member of Congress

Larry Buchson
Member of Congress

Dan Burton
Member of Congress

Francisco "Quico" Canseco
Member of Congress

André Carson
Member of Congress

John Carter
Member of Congress

Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress

Mike Conaway
Member of Congress

Chip Cravaack
Member of Congress

Ander Crenshaw
Member of Congress

Mark Critz
Member of Congress

Henry Cuellar
Member of Congress

Scott DesJarlais
Member of Congress

Ted Deutch
Member of Congress

Mario Diaz-Balart
Member of Congress

Mike Doyle
Member of Congress

Elliot L. Engel
Member of Congress

Blake Farenthold
Member of Congress

Stephen Fincher
Member of Congress

Mike Fitzpatrick
Member of Congress

Jeff Flake
Member of Congress

Trent Franks
Member of Congress

Jim Gerlach
Member of Congress

Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress

Kay Granger
Member of Congress

Tim Griffin
Member of Congress

Brett Guthrie
Member of Congress

Richard Hanna
Member of Congress

Dean Heller
Member of Congress

Jeb Hensarling
Member of Congress

Tim Holden
Member of Congress

Randy Hultgren
Member of Congress

Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress

Steve Israel
Member of Congress

Lynn Jenkins
Member of Congress

Bill Johnson
Member of Congress

Mike Kelly
Member of Congress

Doug Lamborn
Member of Congress

Steven C. Latourette
Member of Congress

Don Manzullo
Member of Congress

Tom Marino
Member of Congress

Jim Matheson
Member of Congress

Michael McCaul
Member of Congress

Tom McClintock
Member of Congress

Thaddeus McCotter
Member of Congress

Howard P. "Buck" McKeon
Member of Congress

David McKinley
Member of Congress

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Member of Congress

Patrick Meehan
Member of Congress

Candice Miller
Member of Congress

Tim Murphy
Member of Congress

Randy Neugebauer
Member of Congress

Kristi Noem
Member of Congress

Richard Nugent
Member of Congress

Devin Nunes
Member of Congress

Alan Nunnelee
Member of Congress

Ron Paul
Member of Congress

Erik Paulsen
Member of Congress

Ed Pastor
Member of Congress

Tom Petri
Member of Congress

Todd Russell Platts
Member of Congress

Bill Posey
Member of Congress

Tom Price
Member of Congress

Reid Ribble
Member of Congress

David Rivera
Member of Congress

Phil Roe
Member of Congress

Todd Rokita
Member of Congress

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress

Dennis Ross
Member of Congress

Tim Ryan
Member of Congress

Loretta Sanchez
Member of Congress

Bobby Schilling
Member of Congress

Aaron Schock
Member of Congress

David Schweikert
Member of Congress

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott
Member of Congress

David Scott
Member of Congress

Jim Sensenbrenner
Member of Congress

Pete Sessions
Member of Congress

John Shimkus
Member of Congress

Bill Shuster
Member of Congress

Adrian Smith
Member of Congress

Steve Stivers
Member of Congress

Bennie Thompson
Member of Congress

Glenn 'GT' Thompson
Member of Congress

Mac Thornberry
Member of Congress

Patrick J. Tiberi
Member of Congress

Paul D. Tonko
Member of Congress

Edolphus "Ed" Towns
Member of Congress

Tim Walberg
Member of Congress

Daniel Webster
Member of Congress

Allen West
Member of Congress

Lynn A. Westmoreland
Member of Congress

Frederica Wilson
Member of Congress

Joe Wilson
Member of Congress

C.W. Bill Young
Member of Congress

Todd Young
Member of Congress

CC:

The Honorable Arne Duncan
Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

The Honorable Jacob J. Lew
Director, Office of Management and Budget

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader, United States Senate

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader, United States Senate

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

The Honorable Mike Enzi
Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions