COMMENTARY: Congressman Stauber says he's leading the effort to fully fund special education
Every student, no matter their circumstances, should be afforded the opportunity to succeed. Unfortunately, the federal government is not meeting its funding obligation to students who need special education services.
Currently, special education in Minnesota receives as little as 8 percent of federal funding, despite the fact the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires an expenditure of 40 percent per pupil. This leaves schools in Minnesota — and across the country — with no choice but to take money out of general education funds to meet the needs of their special education students.
As the father of a child with special needs, I fundamentally understand that this inadequate funding is a barrier to students learning and teachers teaching. I'll never stop fighting to make certain our students are set up for success, so I teamed up with my colleague, Congresswoman Angie Craig, to support the Individuals with Disabilities Education Full Funding Act. This bipartisan legislation would put the federal government back on track to honor its commitment to our students with special needs, allowing our educators to meet the needs of every student.
Improving infrastructure in a cost-effective way
In Minnesota, and across the nation, there are roads, bridges, and highways that are in desperate need of improvement. Republicans and Democrats alike agree that we must bring our nation's infrastructure into the 21st century to ensure the safe transport of people, goods, and services. We also agree that these infrastructure projects should be done in a cost-effective way, which is why I recently introduced legislation to help states construct critical infrastructure projects, all while making the most of taxpayer dollars. The Preserving America's Infrastructure Dollars (PAID) Act would require a Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) to be conducted on infrastructure projects that use more than $30 million in federal funds. Minnesota already requires large infrastructure projects to undergo a LCCA and has seen large savings as a result.
By requiring a LCCA on infrastructure projects, the PAID Act would save the American taxpayer and state transportation departments valuable infrastructure dollars. These savings can be used to invest in additional infrastructure projects like the Twin Ports Interchange, U.S. Hwy. 8, State Hwy. 210, State Hwy. 23 and other projects across northeast Minnesota. It is the duty of the federal government to serve as responsible stewards of taxpayer money, so I will continue to push for the passage of this straightforward, common-sense legislation.
Reaffirming what we already know
Replacing Line 3 would ensure the safe transfer of resources we all use, create thousands of good-paying union jobs and bring millions of dollars in revenue to help improve our schools and infrastructure.
That's why so many Minnesotans were disappointed when Gov. Walz announced his administration would continue former Gov. Dayton's decision to appeal regulatory approval of the Line 3 pipeline project, further delaying this critical project.
However, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently decided to uphold its approval of the Line 3 replacement project, reaffirming what most of us in northern Minnesota already know: We can safely transport the natural resources upon which we all rely while unleashing the economic engine in our part of the state. I now urge Gov. Walz to keep in step with his own agency and quickly allow the construction of Line 3's replacement to begin.
Congress must always stand up for life
As the father to four beautiful children, I believe every life has value. While commonsense and morality would argue this bill should have become law of the land years ago, Speaker Pelosi disagrees, refusing to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote. Congress must always stand up for life, which is why I was proud to sign this discharge petition to force a vote.
The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would ensure babies who survive abortions receive immediate, lifesaving care and institute penalties on doctors who allow such newborns to die. Republican members of the U.S. House have called for unanimous consent on this legislation 25 times, but to no avail.
A simple majority of 218 signatures are needed for a discharge petition to be successful. 21 Democrats must join Republicans in this effort to move the bill to the floor. Three Democrats have already cosponsored the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.