Gregg Harper

Gregg Harper

MISSISSIPPI's 3rd DISTRICT

The Student Success Act

2015/02/27

Dear Friend,

A number of misleading claims are being used by critics of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) to derail K-12 education reform. The following information will explain my support and how the Student Success Act will reduce the federal footprint and restore local control over elementary and secondary education.

Claim: H.R. 5 cements Common Core into federal law.

FACT: The Student Success Act prohibits any agent of the federal government – including the Secretary of Education – from coercing states into adopting Common Core (or other specific standards) through waivers, federal grants, or any other authority.

FACT: Leading conservative education organizations and long-time critics of the Common Core, including the Home School Legal Defense Association and the American Association of Christian Schools, have endorsed the Common Core prohibitions included in the Student Success Act.

FACT: The Student Success Act is a conservative response to President Obama’s Common Core overreach. The federal government must not dictate what academic standards can and cannot be taught in schools. The Student Success Act protects the right of states to reject Common Core, free from federal coercion.

Claim: H.R. 5 continues the No Child Left Behind era of federally-mandated standards, assessments, and accountability.

FACT: The Student Success Act repeals the one-size-fits-all accountability metric, giving states freedom to choose how best to evaluate their schools.

FACT: Under the Student Success Act, states are responsible – not the federal government – for developing academic standards in reading, math, and science, and evaluating student and school performance against those standards.

FACT: The Student Success Act rolls back the highly prescriptive accountability metrics of NCLB, while ensuring policies are in place to protect federal taxpayers’ dollars.

Claim: H.R. 5 is fiscally irresponsible.

FACT: The Student Success Act eliminates 69 programs authorized under current law. The bill replaces the current maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant so states and school districts allocate resources in a way that meets local priorities, not Washington’s priorities.

FACT: Under the Student Success Act, federal spending on K-12 education programs will be less than what is currently authorized for just the Title I program, and the bill freezes that level of annual spending for the next six years.

FACT: The Student Success Act requires the Secretary of Education to reduce the department’s workforce by the amount of staff currently assigned to implement the programs eliminated under the bill (saving taxpayers $10 million) and includes other policies (authored by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)) aimed at lowering spending as the number of federal mandates is reduced.

Claim: H.R. 5 continues NCLB mandates dictating school improvement and state and local spending.

FACT: The Student Success Act repeals mandates in current law that dictate how much money school districts must spend on federally-mandated school improvement activities.

FACT: Under the Student Success Act, states – not the federal government – would create strategies to improve failing schools. There are no federal requirements dictating what state-created school turnaround strategies must look like.

FACT: The Student Success Act repeals NCLB’s prescriptive and limited menu of school improvement activities dictated by the federal government. Instead of this top-down approach, states would use federal funds to improve underperforming schools, free from any federal influence.

Claim: H.R. 5 forces every state to participate in the programs under the bill.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes a specific provision allowing states to opt-out of the policies adopted under the bill. Authored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), the specific legislative text reads:

Any State that opts out of receiving funds, or that has not been awarded funds, under one or more programs under this Act shall not be required to carry out any of the requirements of such program or programs, and nothing in this Act shall be construed to require a State to participate in any program under this Act.

FACT: The Student Success Act is clear: Any state that does not want to comply with any requirement under any program in the bill is free to opt out.

FACT: The Student Success Act rejects the “blank check” approach advocated by some who believe federal dollars should be spent with zero taxpayer accountability. The bill strikes the right balance by rejecting calls to micromanage schools and ensuring schools are transparent with parents and community leaders about how taxpayer dollars are used.

Claim: H.R. 5 requires states to waive their sovereignty.

FACT: The Student Success Act supports the right of every state to opt out of any program under the law. No state is compelled to participate in any program under the bill.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes an “opt-in” provision that relies on the state legislature to affirm it wants to participate in the policies established under the bill. This ensures parents and local leaders have an opportunity to make their voices heard with state leaders about the direction of education policy in their home states.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes numerous provisions that prevent the Secretary of Education from meddling in state and local affairs, including matters involving standards, Common Core, assessments, and a state’s decision to opt-out of the system.

Claim: H.R. 5 tramples on parental rights.

FACT: The Student Success Act empowers parents to have greater control over the quality of education in their neighborhood schools. In no way does the bill allow the federal government to limit the rights of parents under the law.

FACT: Nothing in the Student Success Act limits or transfers parents’ rights to the government.

FACT: Empowered parents are absolutely critical if students are to receive an excellent education. That is why the Student Success Act continues support for magnet schools, expands access to quality charter schools, and allows federal funds to follow low-income children to the traditional public or public charter school of the parent’s choice.

Claim: H.R. 5 is an assault on the nation’s religious, private, and home schools.

FACT: The Student Success Act protects the autonomy of religious schools, private schools, and home schools by ensuring they are free from the Secretary of Education’s control. The bill includes long-standing policy that prohibits any control or monitoring of private schools by the federal government.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes a long-standing policy known as “equitable participation,” which provides low-income students attending religious schools, private schools, and home schools their fair share of federal services offered under the law, such as math tutoring. This does not allow the federal government to monitor or influence any aspect of non-public schools.

FACT: The Student Success Act continues long-standing policies that require equitable participation to be delivered in a non-secular manner. This only applies to the actual services provided to students as agreed to by the private and public schools providing the services. In no way does this require schools to abandon their religious beliefs.

Claim: H.R. 5 erodes student privacy.

FACT: The Student Success Act ensures every grantee under the law not only understands the importance of protecting student privacy, but is aware of their responsibilities to protect student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, (FERPA).

FACT: The Student Success Act makes no changes to FERPA, which has been the controlling law on student privacy for 40 years. The law includes strict limits on the use or sharing of a student’s personally identifiable information.

FACT: House Republicans are committed to strong student privacy protections. FERPA was written before laptops, iPads, and smart boards were in America’s classrooms. Congress must update the law to ensure student privacy protections reflects the realities of modern technology.

God Bless,

Gregg Harper

Member of Congress

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President's AUMF Request is Insufficient

2015/02/12

Dear Friend,

President Obama on Wednesday morning sent Congress draft legislation authorizing the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), warning that if the terror group was left unchecked, it would “pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.”

In September 2014, I wrote that the United States has an obligation to lead and respond whenever innocent people are being massacred. The President has since shown indecision and dragged his feet on the formulation of a plan to wipe out this radical terror group. On September 10th, the President spoke for a mere 14 minutes in length during a primetime speech, painting in broad strokes the outlines of a strategy that was void of anything substantive. 

It is the President who, utilizing the vast resources of the executive branch, must assess any threats to our national security and who must lead by developing a comprehensive, intelligent strategy to confront and defeat the enemy. I appreciate that the President has come to Congress for authorization for use of military force, but this is not a substitute for a comprehensive strategy to confront and defeat an enemy that the President has yet to define.

I want to reiterate that there is no more serious matter that comes before a Congress than the authorization for the use of military force. I am keenly aware that the American public is war weary after fighting in the Middle East for over a decade, but we must respond with military might, not with half-hearted attempts at pacifying terrorist organizations.  

As Congress moves forward in addressing this serious threat, I strongly support any discussion that ensures the United States aggressively and effectively attacks this enemy while also providing the training, equipment, and strategic flexibility needed by our military. I welcome this debate and urge President Obama to not limit the means or capabilities of the United States (such as a “3 year sunset provision” and not authorizing “enduring offensive ground operations”) to defeat this enemy. Working with our friends in the region that are most affected by ISIS is necessary, but the United States must also do what it traditionally has done: Lead. The President’s current request is not sufficient.

God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress  

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Congressman Harper Comments on the Passing of Congressman Alan Nunnelee

2015/02/06

Washington DC – U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper issued the following statement on the passing of U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee:

"With heavy hearts, Sidney and I extend our love and prayers to Tori and her entire family in the loss of Mississippi Congressman Alan Nunnelee.  Alan was not only a loyal and dedicated statesman, but he was my friend and encourager. His devotion to his family, his love for Mississippi, and his commitment to our Lord gave me strength and inspiration. He served his congressional district and the people of Mississippi with great care and dedication, and we will miss him greatly."

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Growing America’s Economy Instead of Washington’s Economy

2015/02/03

 Dear Friend,

In keeping with our pledge to Grow America’s Economy Instead of Washington’s Economy, I want to take a moment to draw your attention to what the House of Representatives has accomplished in just the month of January.  

We have passed 27 different pieces of legislation in 13 legislative days, including:

  • Approving the Keystone XL pipeline (with the support of 28 Democrats)*
  • Passing the Hire More Heroes Act to make it easier for small businesses to hire veterans without running afoul of Obamacare (passed unanimously and is currently being marked up by the Senate Finance Committee)
  • Reauthorizing TRIA (Terrorism Risk Insurance Act) and correcting a Dodd-Frank regulation that harmed manufacturers, farmers, and Main Street businesses (signed into law on January 12)
  • Restoring the 40-hour workweek and protecting the paychecks of millions of Americans (supported by a dozen Democrats)*
  • Prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions*
  • Ensuring that Obamacare mandates don’t destroy volunteer fire departments (passed unanimously)
  • Restoring common sense to financial regulations to help small businesses access capital and grow (with the support of 29 Democrats)*
  • Expediting the licensing of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports both to create jobs and strengthen our national security (with the support of 41 Democrats)
  • Streamlining the process for building natural gas pipelines so we can further lower energy costs for millions of American families (with the support of 14 Democrats)*
  • Blocking funds to implement the President’s unconstitutional amnesty*
  • Reforming the regulatory process to require agencies to seek public input and adopt the least costly regulations*
  • 12 separate bills to combat human trafficking, protect the most vulnerable among us, especially children, and help survivors recover.

As noted by USA Today last week, the White House has set its own record, issuing the most veto threats ever in the first month of a new Congress (including all those above with an asterisk). The Obama Administration has spent more time drafting veto threats – often on bipartisan legislation – than on identifying common ground.

In January, the new Republican Senate also set a record of sorts. The Senate has voted on more than twice as many amendments to legislation this month than they voted on the entire prior year under former Senate Majority Leader Reid!

House and Senate Republicans are doing the hard work that our country demands.  Tomorrow’s good-paying jobs will come from the freedom to innovate from the ground up, not from top-down bureaucrats looking out for special interests.

                                              God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress

 

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Rep. Harper Renews Fight to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

2015/01/28

WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) has renewed his fight to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a proposal to allow consumers to shop for insurance across state lines.  Harper co-sponsored H.R. 543, the Health Care Choice Act of 2015, which was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) yesterday.   

“The American consumer can make better choices for their health care than Washington bureaucrats,” Harper said. “The Health Care Choice Act empowers consumers by giving them the ability to purchase affordable health insurance coverage with a range of options and replaces Washington mandates with interstate competition.”

“Instead of requiring every health plan to carry burdensome directives that make insurance unaffordable, the Health Care Choice Act frees insurance companies to compete for your business across state lines: online, by mail, over the phone, or in consultation with an insurance agent in your hometown.”

Original cosponsors of the Health Care Choice Act of 2015 include: Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03); Rep. Diane Black (TN-06); Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03); Rep. Scott DesJarlais(TN-04); Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03); Rep. Chris Gibson (NY-19); Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02); Adam Kinzinger (IL-16); Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07); Rep. Billy Long (MO-07); Rep. Mia Love (UT-04); Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04); Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22); and Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01).                                                                                      

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                    Gregg Harper is a fourth-term Republican lawmaker from Mississippi.

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Harper Announces Third Congressional District Military Academy Day

2015/01/27

 WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R–Miss.) today announced that he will host the Third Congressional District’s Annual Military Academy Day at Madison Central High School on Saturday April 18, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.   Military Academy Day is a free seminar for students and parents to learn more about our nation’s military academies, requirements for admission and the congressional appointment process. Harper will be joined by area midshipmen, cadets, alumni, Congressional staff, and representatives from the five service academies: U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and college R.O.T.C. representatives. Representatives from the academies and Parents’ Clubs of Mississippi will be available to help answer any questions participants may have about each of these prestigious institutions.

“I invite all students who are interested in obtaining a service academy appointment to attend this informative seminar,” said Harper. “I look forward to visiting with the bright young men and women from across Mississippi’s Third Congressional District considering a commitment to serve in the military.”

High school students preparing for college in the approaching years and considering the service academies option should participate. Junior high students are also welcome to attend.                                             Madison Central High School is located at 1417 Highland Colony Parkway, Madison, Mississippi 39110.                                           

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Opposing View in USA TODAY: Drop Subsidies for Politicians

2015/01/22

Since 1976, more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer money has been given to politicians to run for office. The underutilized Presidential Election Campaign Fund has subsidized presidential candidates and nominating conventions from its inception.

Four decades later, the presidential fund has fallen into obsolescence, so much that in the 2012 election cycle  nobody chose to participate in the program, yet the parties did take funds for their respective conventions.

Because of President Obama's decision in 2008, no major party candidate has participated in public funding because the funds that major party candidates can utilize are so restrictive.

Supporters argue for the need to modernize the public funding system, but we should examine whether valuable taxpayer dollars are better used on other programs. The fund does not create jobs or stir innovation of any kind, which begs the question: Why should Americans be providing taxpayer subsidies for politicians?

Last April, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act became an example of Congress prioritizing a pediatric research initiative at the National Institutes of Health over taxpayer funding of political conventions. In a time of scarce resources and a need for smaller government, that was not a hard decision.

In the American political system, private contributions have opened up new choices for candidates. In recent memory, it was private money that backed outlier candidates such as Ross Perot in 1992 and Ron Paul in 2008. It is the freedom to raise and spend money freely that has increased the likelihood of viable candidates.

In 1980, 28.7% of taxpayers participated in the presidential check-off fund. That declined to 6% last year.

People are voting with their feet and leaving behind a public funding program they find no value in. It is a mistake to continue to promote wasteful public spending programs for which the taxpayer continually must foot the bill.

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Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., co-sponsored a bill to eliminate public funding of presidential campaigns.

 

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Rep. Harper Responds to State of the Union Address

2015/01/21

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) issued the following statement this evening in response to the president’s State of the Union Address:

“I am disappointed that President Obama’s vision for America appeared to be aimed at driving the debate in the 2016 election on income inequality and class-warfare, rather than setting a realistic agenda for Congress. This is President Obama’s same old top-down approach we've come to expect that hasn't worked. Raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful.”

“I believe every child should have an equal opportunity for a great education, which is why we must encourage high-tech educational opportunities and give parents the right to send their kids to schools of their choice.  In Mississippi, our community college system is one of the best, if not the best in the country, and very affordable. Keeping it affordable, not free, should be our objective.  President Obama’s proposal for two years of “free community college” only nationalizes our education system and tells students Washington, DC knows best while making community college more bureaucratic and costly.” 

“Finally, our energy policy should encourage investment, lower fuel prices, and create jobs here at home.  America has an abundance of natural resources, and through innovation we can continue to put people back to work, reduce energy costs, and make America energy independent while looking out for our environment at the same time.  President Obama’s commitment to veto the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project will prevent more than 40,000 American jobs from being created right here at home. I am disappointed that the President took credit for lower gas prices at the pump when it's been his policies that have caused lower and middle class American to suffer economically these past six years. American energy innovation in the private sector is responsible for the lower prices."

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Gregg Harper is a fourth-term Republican lawmaker from Mississippi.

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Rep. Harper's Statement on Passage of Homeland Security Appropriations Act

2015/01/14

 Washington DC- U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) made the following remarks today after the House of Representatives passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

“Today, with my support, the House passed legislation to block President Obama’s executive amnesty plan. President Obama’s immigration plan is a clear example of executive overreach, and I believe Congress must do all it can to stop these actions. This legislation continues to secure our borders and provides the resources necessary to protect all Americans. I hope the Republican-controlled Senate will also pass it and send it to the President’s desk,” Harper said.

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                  Gregg Harper is a fourth-term Republican lawmaker from Mississippi. 

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Boehner was Conservative Choice for Speaker

2015/01/11

Last Tuesday, I was one of 216 of 246 House Republicans that elected John Boehner to serve as Speaker for the 114th Congress.  Those 216 included some of the most conservative members we have in the Republican conference. A number of television and radio hosts, as well as outside groups, whose primary purpose is to raise money to work, not against Democrats, but against Republicans, urged us to vote for a member who ultimately only got three votes (one of which was his own).  Twenty-five voted against Boehner, even though the entire Republican Conference had selected him as our leader in November at our Organizing Conference.  That would have been the time to vote against the Speaker and there would have been secret ballots, but not one person ran against him.  Who was it that gave the nominating speech for Speaker Boehner at that event in November?  It was Trey Gowdy from South Carolina, who is a strong voice for America and conservative principles.

If Boehner is not conservative, then why was he endorsed in his 2014 election by groups such as the National Rifle Association, where he carries an A+ Lifetime Rating?  John Boehner said: “The 2nd Amendment isn’t just about our freedom; it’s about our way of life.”  He was also endorsed by the National Right to Life, and said: “Our founding principles of life and liberty will always be linked. I am proud to fight for the defenseless….”

I wish everyone had the opportunity to talk to Speaker Boehner.  (Take 10 minutes and watch “John Boehner: the Biggest Long Shot” on YouTube.) He’s a family man, he’s loyal to a fault, and he truly wants to guide us through what has been a very difficult time these past six years dealing with President Obama.  During my first two years, we were in the minority with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, then these past four years with Harry Reid running the Senate.  We passed over 380 conservative bills during the last term that never saw the light of day in the Democratic controlled Senate, but now we have control of the House and the Senate, and this should be a time for optimism.

Some have said there should be no “retribution” for any of the 25 who voted against Boehner.  A basic Republican belief is that actions have consequences.  Specifically, the Ethics Committee (on which I served my first two terms) and the Committee on House Administration (on which I’m beginning my fourth term) and the Rules Committee are all appointed by the Speaker.  All other committee assignments are made by the Steering Committee.  Two of the members who voted against Boehner have served on the Rules Committee, which is essential for the majority to control legislation on the floor.  I like both gentlemen, but they should not be allowed to serve on the Rules Committee.  This is not punishment but it’s about assuring Republican control over the legislation that goes to the floor. 

So where do we go now?  We must realize that we are stronger if all 246 members work together.  John Boehner has led us through these last, very difficult, four years to arrive at the largest Republican majority in almost a century.  Let’s stay focused.  Let’s work together and put bills on the President’s desk that he either has to sign or veto.  Then let’s elect a Republican President in 2016.

Gregg Harper is a Republican Congressman for the 3rd congressional district of Mississippi.

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Contact Information

307 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5031
Fax 202-225-5797
harper.house.gov

Congressman Gregg Harper has lived in Mississippi’s Third Congressional District since 1972 and currently resides in Pearl with his wife of 29 years, Sidney, and their two children, Livingston and Maggie. The Harper’s are active members of Crossgates Baptist Church where Gregg serves as a deacon and a college Sunday school teacher.

A conservative man of faith and integrity, Gregg was elected in November, 2008 to serve the citizens of Mississippi’s Third Congressional District. Soon after the election, his peers elected him as the only freshman member of the Republican Steering Committee in the House of Representatives. This key leadership group, which is made up of fewer than 30 members of the 435-member House, makes decisions about which Congressmen serve on all of the legislative committees.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Gregg practiced law for twenty-seven years, including serving as the prosecuting attorney for the cities of Brandon and Richland. Committed to his state and country, Gregg is active in his community as a member of both the Pearl and Rankin County Chambers of Commerce.

During the past eight years, Gregg has served as the chairman of the Rankin County Republican Party. Throughout his involvement in Republican politics, he has helped advance the conservative agenda by assisting in local, county and statewide elections as well as volunteering as a Republican Observer during the Bush-Gore recount in Florida.

The son of a former petroleum engineer and an 85-year-old mother who still works two days a week, Gregg learned at a young age the value of hard work and the importance of education. Gregg and Sidney are both graduates of Mississippi College, where Gregg studied Chemistry. The couple then moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Gregg earned a degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981.

In taking the Congressional Oath of Office on January 6th, 2009, Gregg committed to improve his state and country, and desires to accomplish this goal through the restoration of true conservative values in his work in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Serving With

Alan Nunnelee

MISSISSIPPI's 1st DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

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