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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 5515, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019, AND PROVIDING FOR PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PERIOD FROM MAY 25, 2018, THROUGH JUNE 4, 2018

May 23, 2018
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. 

   As the Representative of Hampton Roads, Virginia, I support the significant increase in Navy shipbuilding in the NDAA. But while we consider national defense, we must also consider school construction. 

   Yesterday, U.S. banks reported $56 billion in first quarter profits. At the same time, our teachers are being forced to go on strike for a living wage and adequate funding for our public schools. But when the majority pushed its tax bill through Congress, it was the banks, not teachers and not the schools, that received the biggest benefit. 

   H.R. 2475, the Rebuild America's Schools Act, would be a step forward in correcting our priorities by investing desperately needed funding into our public school infrastructure. This $100 billion proposal, which is barely 5 percent of what was spent on the tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, would go towards repairing crumbling public school buildings to ensure that every student has access to safe, healthy, and high-quality learning facilities. 

   Not only would this proposal improve school conditions and student academic outcomes, it would create jobs. Research from the Economic Policy Institute shows that for every $1 billion invested in school construction, 18,000 jobs are created. Therefore, a $100 billion Federal investment translates into about 1.8 million new jobs over the next decade. That is many times more than are projected from the $1.5 trillion tax cut. 

   Last week, we honored the 64th anniversary of the Supreme Court landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that found separate is inherently unequal and ordered public education to integrate to provide equitable learning opportunities for all. 

   Now, how can we now say that we followed the order in Brown when, just this winter, public schools in Baltimore were forced to close because they didn't have heat? And how could we justify handing a massive tax cut to the wealthy and corporations while abandoning students and educators in public schools across the country? The answer is we can't. 

   The Rebuild America's Schools Act would put us on a path to give students the safe and high-quality education they deserve, and I strongly urge my colleagues to support this legislation.