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Jobs and Education Top the 2004 Congressional Slate

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Jobs and Education Top the 2004 Congressional Slate

The new year has been underway for some time now, but the new legislative year is just getting started. 2004 is a unique year - mainly because of the upcoming presidential election. Compared to non-campaign years, this may lead some to believe there will be massive "political gridlock" throughout 2004. However, there are some important legislative items Congress will tend to during the year ahead. And, similar to years past, many of these legislative issues fall into my own House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Heading into the new legislative season, jobs and education are the top domestic policy concerns for many Americans. Over the last several years, I've worked on a variety of legislative projects impacting both of these issues - ranging from the No Child Left Behind Act to pension protection measures to legislation making health insurance more affordable and available to employers and employees. This year will be no different. Here's a brief preview of a few of the higher-profile jobs and education issues my Committee and the Congress will tackle in 2004.

Confronting College Costs. This year, Congress is set to renew the chief federal law impacting colleges and universities and the students who attend them: the Higher Education Act. In fact, the increasing importance of a college education - coupled with the troubling trend of out-of-control college cost increases - makes this renewal one of the most pressing items on the congressional agenda.

Our Committee will consider legislation to make information about college cost increases more available to parents and students (the consumers of higher education) and to encourage federally-subsidized colleges and universities to do more to avoid tuition hikes that hurt students and parents. We'll also ensure student aid programs are fairly administered and serving those students most in need, refocusing the Higher Education Act on its original mission. If you are a student or parent seeking more information on the "college cost crisis" or looking for a place to voice your own opinion, I invite you to visit the Committee's website at

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