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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Aid Elimination Penalty Update

Last week, I posted an action alert from the Students for Sensible Drug Policy regarding the aid elimination penalty, which bars students with drug convictions from receiving federal student aid. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee is considering an amendment to the Higher Education Act that would eliminate the penalty. According to Pete Guither of Drug WarRant, the committee could vote on the amendment late this week or early next week. Ohio's own Senator Sherrod Brown is on the committee. Here is a complete list of HELP Committee members:
Kennedy, Edward (MA) , Chairman
Dodd, Christopher (CT)
Harkin, Tom (IA)
Mikulski, Barbara (MD)
Bingaman, Jeff (NM)
Murray, Patty (WA)
Reed, John (RI)
Clinton, Hillary (NY)
Obama, Barack (IL)
Sanders, Bernard (VT)
Brown, Sherrod (OH)
Enzi, Michael (WY), Ranking Member
Gregg, Judd (NH)
Alexander, Lamar (TN)
Burr, Richard (NC)
Isakson, Johnny (GA)
Murkowski, Lisa (AK)
Hatch, Orrin (UT)
Roberts, Pat (KS)
Allard, A. (CO)
Coburn, Tom (OK)

Three names on that list stand out. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are running for president, and Senator Chris Dodd seems to think he's running for president. If you're a likely voter in next year's Democratic primaries or caucuses, please call Senators Clinton, Obama, and Dodd and tell them to vote to repeal the aid elimination penalty. Here's a sample script from the SSDP:
* When the receptionist in your senator's office answers the phone, politely say something like: "My name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [YOUR CITY]. When the HELP Committee revises the Higher Education Act soon, I hope that the senator will make sure to get rid of the harmful and unfair law that takes away financial aid from college students with drug convictions. This law causes more, not less, drug abuse by blocking access to education."

All senators' offices can be reached through the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121.


Blogger Ben said...

Do you have any evidence or studies that show that the aid elmination penalty does cause more drug use? if so, i would like to see it.

1:08 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Jason Sonenshein said...

Here's an excerpt from the SSDP's legislative guide:

"In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that high school graduates not enrolled in college are three times more likely to have used heroin and are almost twice as likely to have used cocaine in the past year than those in college. Drug arrests on college campuses have actually increased since the penalty was enacted in 1998. Even the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s own research arm, indicated that it could find no evidence that the penalty 'actually helped to deter drug use.'"

7:10 PM, May 02, 2007  
Blogger Ben said...

thanks. let me read that link.

1:02 AM, May 03, 2007  

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