Can we make the HERO Act heroic?
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) recently introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act (“HERO Act” H.R. 4274) and discussions are underway. We are hearing some rumblings from Capitol Hill that are troubling. The bill could certainly be improved upon.
The College Transparency Act (CTA – H.R. 2434) has reared its ugly head during these discussions. This bill would allow the collection of highly personal information throughout an individual’s college career without their consent. In 2008, the Higher Education Act banned the creation of this type of record system for the safety and privacy of American families. In recent years, we have seen consistent hackings of personal data in every facet of society. The federal government has failed time after time to protect the security of private data. It will be a matter of time before a corrupt individual will use this information for political or personal gain. Congress must retain the language from the 2008 Higher Education Act. It should not be overturned by CTA.
On another note, the HERO Act must continue to include measures to support equal treatment for religious universities and their students. These measures were necessitated because the accreditation of religious institutions has been threatened based on their beliefs. For example, the century-old Gordon College in Massachusetts has maintained the orthodoxy of defining marriage between one man and one woman, as well as refraining from sex until marriage. In 2014, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) gave Gordon College a year to relent on their beliefs or they would strip their accreditation. The NEASC eventually backed down from their stance, leaving the accreditation in place. Currently, Congress requires that accreditors respect the religious beliefs of these institutions, however, this right must be more clearly defined in law.
Eagle Forum will continue to rally the grassroots to keep harmful provisions out of this bill and make it a constructive piece of legislation.
Conscience Protection Act
Language from the Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 644) may be included in end-of-the-year spending bills. This simple language packs a powerful punch. Medical professionals would be protected if they chose not to provide abortion services. The current law prohibits an individual from refusing to perform this action by calling it “discrimination.” A legal course of action would be provided if a medical professional is forced to perform an abortion. This language was included in the FY2018 appropriations bills. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), Chair of the House Budget Committee, is committed to keep it in.
Congress has the deadline of December 8, 2018 to pass a new spending bill. Eagle Forum will continue to monitor the actions of Congress in this effort.
Tabitha Walter is the Washington, D.C. Executive Director for Eagle Forum.