Inhofe Concerned About Unfunded Mandates in Higher Education Legislation
Governors Say Inclusion of Maintenance of Effort Provision Will Raise Tuition for Students
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) last night voted against the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (HR 4137) based on concerns about the Federal Government passing along more unfunded mandates onto the states. Those concerns are shared by the National Governors Association, who wrote in opposition to the Senate Conference Report. Most recently, on March 10 2008, 46 governors wrote the House Committee on Education and Labor to voice significant reservations about the legislation. Senator Inhofe has supported the Higher Education Reauthorization bill the last two times the bill was reauthorized in 1992 and 1998.
"Though I have long been a supporter of higher education and programs making education more readily available, the Senate passed Conference report imposes obligations on Oklahoma colleges and universities and even tries to direct the decisions of our state legislatures," Senator Inhofe said. "I take seriously the concerns laid out by the National Governors Association who state that the Maintenance of Effort' provision in the bill undermines governors' authority and guarantees that students and their families will be writing larger, not smaller, tuition checks in the future. This is not the answer to affordable higher education. Governors oppose the higher education bill because of the negative impacts of the maintenance of effort and implore Congress to vote against it.' As a former Mayor and state legislator, I know all too well that even the best of intended passed bills in Congress can have a crippling effect on state and local governments."