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Congresswomen Push For A Hearing On “Reimburse Educators who Pay for Academic Year (REPAY) Supplies Act “

Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)  request hearing on legislation to support teachers who pay for educational supplies out of their own pockets. 

Image by  USAG-Humphreys

Image by USAG-Humphreys

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) urged the House Ways and Means Committee to hold a hearing on H.R. 3318, the Reimburse Educators who Pay for Academic Year (REPAY) Supplies Act of 2013. The legislation would permanently extend the Classroom Expense Deduction, a $250 tax deduction for teachers who pay out of their own pockets for educational supplies.

“Congress should continue the bipartisan tradition of extending this deduction on behalf of our country’s educators, and a legislative hearing on this bill is a crucial step toward doing so,” Shea-Porter and Ros-Lehtinen wrote .

The current Classroom Expense Deduction expired at the end of 2013, leaving teachers across America on the hook for even more of the classroom supplies purchased with their own money.

“This deduction has been extended with bipartisan support for every year since 2002, but was allowed to expire at the end of 2013,” Shea-Porter and Ros-Lehtinen continued. “We owe it to our nation’s educators and our children to ensure that they have the necessary educational tools to succeed.”

Earlier today, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen spoke on the House floor, urging members to support the legislation, which currently has 54 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced in October 2013, came in response to a letter Shea-Porter received from  Margaret Morse-Barry, a New Hampshire educator who urged Shea-Porter to look into extending the expiring tax deduction.

“When I heard from Dr. Morse-Barry, I knew this had to be fixed,” Shea-Porter said. “Representative Ros-Lehtinen and I are determined to push for passage of this common sense legislation that would put money back into the pockets of hardworking teachers,” Shea-Porter said.

“Our teachers already face enough hurdles without having to figure out how they will pay for needed classroom supplies. I, along with Rep. Shea-Porter, will continue to fight for this needed help for those who are on the front lines of educating our children,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

The REPAY Supplies Act has been endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT),  NEA–New Hampshire Chapter, AFT–New Hampshire Chapter, and New Hampshire School Administrators Association.

Full text of the letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin is below.

 

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March 12, 2014

Chairman Dave Camp
House Committee on Ways and Means
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Ranking Member Sander M. Levin
House Committee on Ways and Means
1106 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin:

We write to urge you to hold a hearing on H.R. 3318, the Reimburse Educators who Pay for Academic Year (REPAY) Supplies Act of 2013, a bill that would permanently extend the Classroom Expense Deduction, a $250 deduction for teachers who pay out of their own pockets for educational supplies.  The current deduction expired at the end of 2013, leaving teachers on the hook for even more of the classroom supplies purchased with their own money, and was not included in Chairman Camp’s recent tax reform proposal.  Congress should continue the bipartisan tradition of extending this deduction on behalf of our country’s educators, and a legislative hearing on this bill is a crucial step toward doing so.

Teachers across the country spend hundreds of their own dollars each year on supplies their schools can’t afford to provide.  These include items like books, software, and rulers, which go a long way to help students learn and be engaged in school.   The Classroom Expense Deduction allows teachers who pay out of their own pockets for supplies to claim a $250 above-the-line deduction on their tax returns.  This deduction has been extended with bipartisan support for every year since 2002, but was allowed to expire at the end of 2013.  We owe it to our nation’s educators and our children to ensure that they have the necessary educational tools to succeed.

The REPAY Supplies Act, which has 54 bipartisan cosponsors, would ensure that our teachers can always count on reimbursement to mitigate the financial sacrifices they make on behalf of our nation’s students.  Teachers deserve the opportunity to testify before Congress about the impact this deduction has on their family checkbooks and in their classrooms.  By holding a legislative hearing on this bill, passing it out of Committee, and holding a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congress will give our educators the support, recognition, and certainty they deserve, while at the same time improving access to needed school supplies for our children.  Thank you for your consideration of this hearing request.

 

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

 

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Member of Congress

 

At Armed Services Hearing Shea-Porter Reiterates Opposition to Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC)

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

 

WASHINGTON, DC –During a House Armed Services Committee hearing this afternoon on the Navy’s FY 2015 budget request, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) spoke directly to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus about her opposition to additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

“I have the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in my district, and you know how famous they are for the great work they do…their record is absolutely wonderful,” Shea-Porter said. “My question is very simple. In considering a future BRAC, is the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in that equation at all? I believe their work is essential, and my question is, do you and does the Navy?”

Mabus noted that all of America’s Naval Shipyards, including Portsmouth do “incredibly good work.” He also noted that because the Navy has not been authorized to do a BRAC, he could not comment on how a potential BRAC evaluation would look.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter continues to believe that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is essential to our nation’s security.

“When you see the work that they’re doing and recognize how essential it is for national security, I hope that will get a full measure of consideration,” Shea-Porter added.

As a member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Shea-Porter helped pass a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act explicitly prohibiting additional rounds of BRAC. The legislation stated “nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, and none of the funds appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations contained in this Act may be used to propose, plan for, or execute an additional BRAC round.” That language is now federal law.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of four public shipyards in the United States, and it’s the only public Shipyard on the East Coast.

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