The twenty-first century has brought about profound changes to the ways in which we do business both at home and abroad. As information, goods, and people flow seamlessly across borders at previously unimaginable speeds, we must rethink how to best equip our students for success in this new, global job market. To that end, I have been a champion of congressional efforts to finally reauthorize and reform the badly-outdated No Child Left Behind law to ensure that Washington can be a partner, not a barrier, to innovation in the classroom. I have also worked to address the soaring cost of higher education, providing student loan borrowers with substantive debt relief and reasonable options to finance their education.
- In a major victory for Maine students, I spearheaded the passage of the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, which prevented federal student loan interest rates from doubling and allows new student borrowers to take advantage of near historic low interest rates.
- To ensure that student loan borrowers can be protected from loan payments that threaten their financial stability, I introduced the Repay Act, which streamlines and reforms existing income-based repayment programs, making it easier for students to manage their financial future.
- I have supported funding for improved broadband infrastructure in Maine, which would bolster both schools’ ability to afford high-speed internet access and improve student access to the internet outside the classroom, reducing the “Homework Gap.”
- I have advocated for modernization of the E-Rate program, which funds broadband connections for schools and libraries, to ensure that Maine students have full access to the benefits of technology in the classroom.
- I was proud to support the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the outdated No Child Left Behind, recalibrates the federal government’s involvement in education, facilitates the sharing of K-12 decision-making with state and local authorities, and makes sure that government has a beneficial and unobtrusive role in education. This new law includes provisions I authored to address the “Homework Gap.”
- As a longtime supporter of TRIO programs and a member of the Congressional TRIO Caucus, I worked tirelessly to ensure that the University of Maine at Presque Isle received the Upward Bound funding their students rely on, after the University’s application was originally rejected by the Department of Education for a minor typographical error.
- I introduced a bipartisan amendment to streamline the process through which permanently disabled veterans access federal student loan forgiveness. The amendment was unanimously approved by the Senate. In a further effort to reform the loan forgiveness process for families of deceased or disabled student borrowers, I introduced the Stop Taxing Death and Disability Act, which eliminates a tax levied on families whose student loans are forgiven due to the death of permanent disability of the borrower.