What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Children : HR 3043. (Fiscal 2008 Labor-Health-Education spending) Westmoreland of Georgia amendment that would prohibit federal student aid applications forms from using any language other than English/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 676)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
HR 3043. (Fiscal 2008 Labor-Health-Education spending) Westmoreland of Georgia amendment that would prohibit federal student aid applications forms from using any language other than English/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 676     Jul 19, 2007
Member's Vote
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or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This vote was on an amendment by Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., that would  prohibit federal student aid applications from being provided in a language other than English.  The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the Labor, Health and Education departments in fiscal 2008.

Westmoreland said that since anyone applying for federal student financial aid is a high school graduate and must be a legal citizen of the U.S., it's not unreasonable to expect that they be able to fill out a form in English.

"I have a higher opinion of our education system than that, and I believe a student that meets these eligibility requirements will be proficient enough in English to complete this form in English," Westmoreland said.  "Even more disturbing is the presumption that the Federal Government would be subsidizing the college education of an individual that does not have the proficiency in English to fill out the form to get free Federal assistance."

David Obey, D-Wis., said he wants every American to learn English.  But he said Westmoreland is "in effect, is asking us to pass sentence on 150,000 students who applied for student financial assistance last year using the Spanish version of the application form. Those students would automatically be denied financial aid, with no demonstrable proof that they were illegal aliens, only because they felt more comfortable applying in Spanish."

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 191-233.  Of Republicans present, 169 voted for the amendment and 27 voted against it.  Of Democrats present, 22 voted for the amendment and 206 voted against it.  The end result is that the measure went forward without a prohibition on issuing federal student aid application forms in languages other than English.

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