On April 16, David Hoppe, Chief of Staff for Senator Trent Lott and coordinator of the IDEA Working Group distributed an update of the proceedings: “The IDEA Working Group has completed preliminary proposals for the IDEA bill. A meeting occurred today between Congressional Members of the relevant House and Senate Committees and representatives from the Administration to discuss and consider the draft product of the IDEA Working Group.
“An agreement in principle was reached on the draft document. Following our established procedure, these proposals will not be finalized until the IDEA Working Group has had the opportunity to receive comment and feedback from the advocacy and education communities in two additional meetings. The Working Group will provide additional information from these meetings to the Principals for their consideration before the legislation is finalized.”
It is anticipated that the IDEA Working Group will meet on April 25 and again on May 2 to review the proposals. As the end of this process is neared, it is important for parents to continue to contact their legislators with their own stories and opinions.
For a full set of the IDEA Working Group documents, contact Senator Lott’s office.
On April 8, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the CHILD (Children's Health Insurance and Lower Deficit) Act, S.525—legislation that will make quality health insurance affordable and accessible to the families of America's 10 million uninsured children by giving grants to states to help families buy private insurance that meets the range of children's needs, while reducing the federal deficit. The bill uses increased cigarette taxes to pay for the child health initiative—with one third of the taxes raised going for deficit reduction. The bill also will make insurance policies more easily accessible to those higher-income children who will not receive help in paying for insurance.
Fourteen other Senators co-sponsored this important legislation, including Senators: Snowe (R-ME); Collins (R-ME); Stevens (R-AK); Bennett (R-UT); Campbell (R-CO); Smith (R-OR); Jeffords (R-VT); Kerry (D-MA); Dodd (D- CT); Rockefeller (D-WV); Daschle (D-SD); Wellstone (D-MN); Bingaman (D-NM); and Lautenberg (D-NJ).
If your Senator has co-sponsored S.525, the CHILD Act, please call and thank them for their support. If your Senators are not on the list, please call and urge them to support this important bi- partisan legislation.
Thanks to the Children’s Defense Fund for this important update.
CALL - Congress’ Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 1-800-962-3524; or WRITE - The Honorable ___________, US Senate, Wash., DC 20510; The Honorable __________, US House of Representatives, Wash., DC 20515
The Jospeh P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation sponsors a Public Policy Fellowship for outstanding professionals and parents who have demonstrated an interest in how policy is developed in Washington. This one year fellowship carries a tradition of cntribution to the policy making process, working with Members of congress and their staffs, or with key Executive Branch Agencies. Former Fellows describe the Fellowship as a major event in their lives.
For more information, or an application, contact the Jospeh P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation; 1325 G St., NW, Suite 500; Washington, DC 20005; (202)393-1250, or Patty Smith at the NPND address below.