Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Senate passes reform of HEA Drug Provision

This morning, at about a quarter to 11:00 EST, the Senate passed the budget reconciliation bill by a margin of 51-50, with Vice President Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote. The budget bill contained a reform to the HEA Drug Provision, which would remove the provision’s retroactivity to make students ineligible for financial aid based on past drug convictions. The bill is almost set to become law, pending the President’s signature.

By removing the retroactivity of ineligibility, the provision will now make ineligible only those applicants for financial aid who are convicted of drug offenses while in school and receiving financial aid. This law will be in effect for the next school year.

This is a major victory. Only because of the years of sustained pressure by student activists did Congress reform this disastrous law. It’s a good first step, however this reform is still sorely lacking. If Congress had looked seriously and honestly at the facts, they would have repealed it altogether.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you meant, "provision will now make eligible..." ;-)

Erik Cooke said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Erik Cooke said...

Nope. I meant ineligible. The provision as altered will deny eligibility only to people who have a drug conviction while in school and receiving financial aid.

As it has been enforced, the Drug Provision has denied eligibility for financial on the basis of drug convictions, regardless of when they occurred.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see, I misread it.

Jonathan Perri said...

Now we just have to get rid of the whole thing! At the rate we are moving, I think things look good!

Poor Souder, it must be tough to have to reform your own bill because SSDP proved and promoted its flaws. Pat yourselves on the back drug policy reformers.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to SSDP and the THOUSANDS of students, civil rights leaders, educators, health professionals, politicos, and concerned citizens that made this victory possible!

Thank you SSDP, for ensuring that hundreds, if not thousands, of students will now be able to go to college.

Souder would not have pushed for this reform if it were not for SSDP.