THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - October 18, 2019

Oct 20, 2019

In this issue:

• Medicaid: It is time to act

In-state tuition in new College Act

Lower drug costs for the Marianas

Teacher excellence awarded

Closer look at Hopwood post-Hagibis

Help for job training

New Medicare plan finder

Okinawa Governor visits

Welcome, Palé

Kilili Time Capsule

Opportunities

Legislative highlights

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In-state tuition in new College Act

Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee unveiled our new vision for higher education, including my grant program for Northern Marianas College graduates. The grant, up to $15,000, is intended to cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for NMC grads going on to a four-year, public college or university elsewhere in America. Also incorporated in the one-thousand page College Affordability Act, H.R. 4674, are my bills making NMC and PSS eligible for new federal funding to support the Chamorro and Refaluwasch languages and STEM education. My Simple FAFSA bill, too, is now part of the Democrats signature legislation. Simplifying the FAFSA form will make it easier for first-time college students from low-income families, like many in the Marianas, to apply for federal tuition aid—and only have to apply once, not year-after-year. The Marianas would also receive $2.1 million over six years for career training in high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industries. Learn more here.

Help for job training

More federal help for Marianas workers looking to enter the job market is the goal of the Employment Services and Jobs Parity Act, which I introduced. H.R. 4743 ensures job seekers in the Marianas get the same skill assessments, career guidance, and referrals to training provided to other insular areas through the Wagner-Peyser Act. The annual grant is worth about $300,000. Republicans have previously blocked my bills to get equal treatment for the Marianas. But Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott gave me his commitment last year that once Democrats were in the majority he would move ahead to “make the Marianas an eligible entity for Wagner-Peyser Act assistance.” I appreciate the Chairman’s support and look forward to moving my bill, as a stand-alone or included in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, when we reauthorize that law later in this Congress.

New Medicare plan finder

Just in time for Open Enrollment, the Medicare Plan Finder has a new look and new features. Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks.  If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you can now use the new Medicare Plan Finder on www.medicare.gov to review coverage choices and decide on the options that best fit your health needs for 2020. The new plan finder features an improved layout that makes it easier to compare prices between different plans, build a personal prescription drug list with more accurate drug pricing, and access the plan finder from your mobile device. Medicare Open Enrollment is currently ongoing and closes on December 7, 2019.

OPPORTUNITIES

Grants

LEGISLATIVE HIGHLIGHTS

THIS WEEK

  • H.R. 1815 – SEC Disclosure Effectiveness Act (Passed, 229-186)
  • H.R. 1199 - VA Website Accessibility Act of 2019 (Passed by voice vote)
 
NEXT WEEK
  • H.R. 4406 - Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2019
  • H.R. 2426 – CASE Act of 2019
  • H.R. 724 – Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act