Earlier this week, I voted for a compromise measure that reopened the federal government through January 15, 2014 and ensures that America will pay its bills through at least February 7, 2014.
This bill ended an unnecessary, self-induced crisis. But it failed to end sequestration's painful cuts in government services. It failed to invest in creating new jobs. It followed costly weeks of government shutdown and unnerving the financial world. It set up the prospect of additional confrontations over the budget and the debt ceiling early next year.
Ever since this phony crisis began, a majority of the Congress -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- sought to reopen the government. Yet Republican leaders, out of misguided deference to the reckless ideologues in their ranks, refused to allow a vote on clean legislation to reopen the government.
On Wednesday that finally changed. The Speaker allowed the majority of House members to work their will, and as a result, our government has reopened and the U.S. can continue paying her debts, as we have for centuries. My hope is that, in the months ahead, Speaker Boehner will follow this week's precedent and allow votes on other pressing issues, such as job creation and immigration reform, that Democrats and Republicans can agree on. The alternative would be to continue to follow the extreme minority who shut down the government for no apparent reason, with no clear idea of what they hoped to win.
The Evidence Is Clear on School Vouchers
School "vouchers" are a longstanding conservative education reform proposal to allow parents to use taxpayer money to subsidize their children's attendance at private schools. Proponents hope that vouchers will create a "free market" in education that will improve outcomes -- but the evidence shows that, to the contrary, vouchers just drain money from public schools.
In a recent study, researchers at Princeton University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found, overall, no statistical difference in achievement between students receiving vouchers and their peers who remained in public school. In a separate study, Milwaukee voucher students did no better than their public school peers in reading, math, and science from 4th through 10th grade. Similar results were found by independent studies in D.C. and Cleveland.
Guided by such evidence, I have always opposed and voted in Congress against school vouchers. We should work to improve our public schools, not pilfer from them.
Working for You
Recently, I was contacted by a Spotswood woman who had discovered an error in her Social Security benefits: due to a mix-up, the Social Security Administration had wrongly cut her monthly benefit, and she was unable to reach anyone who could fix the problem. After I intervened, she was reimbursed more than $800 for the benefits she had missed, and she will receive the correct benefit amount moving forward.
Have you encountered a similar problem with Social Security or any other federal agency? If so, please drop me a line at 1-87-RUSH-HOLT or by sending an e-mail. I'll be glad to help.
Member of Congress