Bobby Scott

Bobby Scott

Summary

Current Position: US Representative for US House District 3 since 1993
Affiliation: Democrat

Mission Statement: N/A

About

Bobby Scott 2

Source: Government page

Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott is currently serving his thirteenth term in Congress representing Virginia’s Third Congressional District.  Prior to serving in the House of Representatives, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993.

During his tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, Congressman Scott successfully sponsored laws critical to Virginians in education, employment, health care, social services, economic development, crime prevention and consumer protection.  His legislative successes included laws that increased Virginia’s minimum wage, created the Governor’s Employment and Training Council and improved health care benefits for women, infants and children.  He also sponsored the Neighborhood Assistance Act, which provides tax credits to businesses for donations made to approved social service and crime prevention programs.

Congressman Scott has the distinction of being the first African-American elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African-American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history.  Having a maternal grandfather of Filipino ancestry also gives him the distinction of being the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.

Congressman Scott currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, a committee he has served on since his arrival to Congress in 1993. In his capacity as the most senior Democrat on the Committee, he is leading the fight for access to quality early, secondary and higher education for all of America’s children with an emphasis on solving the growing problem of student debt, closing the achievement gap and dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.  In 2015, he was one of the four primary negotiators of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time in 13 years replacing the No Child Left Behind Act.  Additionally, he is focused on ensuring that millions of Americans have the opportunity to go to work every day and know that they will be treated fairly, paid a decent and living wage, given a safe environment in which do their jobs and provided access to affordable health care.

From the beginning of his tenure in Congress, Congressman Scott has led efforts to pass comprehensive juvenile justice reform and crime prevention legislation. Towards that end, he has introduced the Youth PROMISE Act, which would provide resources to state and local governments for evidence-based strategies and programs to prevent juvenile crime.

As a part of his effort to provide universal health care for all, prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Scott sponsored the All Healthy Children Act, which sought to ensure that millions of uninsured children in the United States have access to a comprehensive set of health care services.

Congressman Scott is also a recognized champion of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and has fought to protect the rights and civil liberties of all Americans.  In 1997, he protected the right of all children with disabilities to obtain a free and appropriate education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by leading a successful effort to defeat amendments aimed at curtailing that right for some children.  Congressman Scott also actively opposed passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and has been a leading critic of both Republican and Democratic Administrations’ misuse of surveillance authorities.  He is also a leading opponent of efforts to permit employment discrimination in federally funded programs.

As the former Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Scott is also a leading advocate for reforming our nation’s broken criminal justice system. Congressman Scott sponsored the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which was originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and its subsequent reauthorization was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. The law requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report to the U.S. Department of Justice how many individuals die each year while in police custody or during the course of an arrest.  In 2010, Congressman Scott successfully led efforts in the House to pass the Fair Sentencing Act, one of the first successful reductions in a mandatory minimum sentence in decades.  The law reduced the unfair sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

From 2013 to 2014, he co-chaired the House Judiciary Committee’s Over-Criminalization Task Force with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).  Based on the findings of their task force, Scott and Sensenbrenner co-authored the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, which has been recognized as one of the most comprehensive criminal justice reform bills in a generation and has attracted significant support from across the political spectrum.

Having served for a total of six years on the House Budget Committee, Congressman Scott is also a leading voice on fiscal policy and reducing the deficit.  He was an ardent opponent of the 2001 and 2003 Bush-era tax cuts that were skewed towards the wealthiest Americans and contributed trillions to the national debt.  He opposed the 2008 taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street and the 2013 Fiscal Cliff deal that permanently extended most of the Bush-era tax cuts.  He is dedicated to restoring fiscal sanity to the federal budget process in order to balance the federal budget and has advocated for the return of statutory Pay-As-You-Go budget rules, which helped bring the federal budget from deficit to surplus in the 1990s.

Congressman Scott is also a strong supporter of our nation’s military readiness as well as our troops and their safety.  He is a leading advocate for improving and increasing funding for veterans’ benefits and health care, especially mental health care, and was the lead sponsor in the House of Senator Jim Webb’s Post-9/11 G.I. Bill that was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008. Congressman Scott has routinely received an “A” from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for his service and commitment to our veterans.

In 2010, The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, recognized Congressman Scott as one of the 25 hardest working Members of Congress. The Hill later recognized him in 2012 as one of Capitol Hill’s 50 most beautiful people.

Congressman Scott was born on April 30, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Newport News, Virginia.  He is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School.  After graduating law school, he returned home to Newport News and practiced law from 1973 to 1991.  He received an honorable discharge for his service in the Massachusetts National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.

Congressman Scott is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Newport News and is a member of many professional, community, and civic boards and organizations.

Experience

Education

  • JD
    Boston College Law School
  • BA
    Harvard College

Personal

Membership & Affiliation

  • St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church

Contact

Email:

Offices

Washington Office
1201 Longworth House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8351
Fax: (202) 225-8354

District Office
2600 Washington Ave.
Suite 1010
Newport News, VA 23607
Phone: (757) 380-1000
Fax: (757) 928-6694 H

Web

Government Page, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Wikipedia

Politics

Recent Elections

2018 US Representative for US House District 3

Bobby Scott (D)198,61591.22%
Write In (Write-in)19,1078.78%
TOTAL217,722

2016 US Representative for US House District 3

Bobby Scott (D)208,33766.7%
Martin L. Williams (R)103,28933.1%
Write In (Write-in)7450.2%
TOTAL312,371

2014 US Representative

Bobby Scott (D)139,19794.4%
Write In (Write-in)8,2065.6%
TOTAL147,403

2012 US Representative for US House District 3

Bobby Scott (D)259,19981.2%
Dean J. Longo (R)58,93118.5%
Write In (Write-in)1,2360.4%
TOTAL319,366

2010 US Representative for US House District 3

Bobby Scott (D)102,47068.7%
C. L. Chuck Smith, Jr (R)42,29728.4%
James J. Quigley (L)2,2051.5%
John D. Kelly ()1,9271.3%
Write In (Write-in)1590.1%
TOTAL149,058

2008 US Representative for US House District 3

Bobby Scott (D)239,91197.0%
Write In (Write-in)7,377
TOTAL247,288

Source: Department of Elections

Finances

SCOTT, ROBERT C (BOBBY) has recently run in 5 congressional races, winning 5 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $2,795,421.

Source: Follow the Money

Committees

Committees

Education and Labor Committee (Chair)
Budget Committee

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Congressional website

Issues

Better Government

Federal Budget

Important Budget Links | Statement & Press Releases

Congressman Scott supports reducing our budget deficit and balancing the federal budget, but not at the expense of cutting vital government functions, such as defense, education, transportation, Social Security and Medicare.

 

Congressman Scott understands that deficit reduction requires making sometimes tough, unpopular choices. During his first year serving in Congress, Congressman Scott supported the 1993 Clinton budget, which narrowly passed the House and the Senate. The 1993 Clinton budget, also known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, helped put the nation on a strong fiscal path and turned federal budget deficits into federal budget surpluses. By 2001, the Congressional Budget Office projected a ten year surplus of $5.6 trillion. At the time, that would have been enough to completely eliminate the national debt held by the public by 2008, and we would owe nothing to China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

Citing likely fiscal disaster, Congressman Scott opposed President George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Congressman Scott correctly pointed out that these tax cuts were not paid for and would wreak havoc on the budget. Combined with the Bush Administration’s unpaid for Medicare prescription drug plan, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an economy deep in recession, and these tax cuts, by the end of the Bush Administration, the annual federal budget deficit had climbed to $1.4 trillion and instead of paying off the national debt held by the public, the total national debt ballooned from $5.7 trillion in 2001 to $10.7 trillion by the end of 2008.

In late 2010, when these Bush-era tax cuts were set to expire, Congressman Scott opposed the two year extension because the nation could not afford them and if they continued to be extended, it would likely force Congress to make deep cuts in vital government services, including Social Security and Medicare.

In 2011, Congressman Scott opposed the Budget Control Act, which conditioned an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling on Congress cutting approximately $2.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years. $1.2 trillion of those $2.2 trillion in cuts was contingent on whether a Congressional deficit reduction committee, commonly referred to as the “Super Committee,” reported out a deficit reduction plan totaling $1.2 trillion by the end of 2011. If the Super Committee failed, which it did, the $1.2 trillion in cuts would be implemented through a draconian across-the-board budget cutting process known as “sequestration.” Congressman Scott voted against the Budget Control Act because Congress failed to address a driving factor of the nation’s budget deficit – the Bush-era tax cuts – and its failure to do so would set the stage for sequestration and cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In early 2013, during the fiscal cliff debacle, Congress permanently extended a majority of the Bush-era tax cuts at a ten-year cost, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, of $3.9 trillion and failed to cancel the $1.2 trillion sequester. Congressman Scott opposed the so-called “Fiscal Cliff Deal” because it permanently extended these unaffordable tax cuts and did nothing to address sequestration, which would and has had a significant negative impact on the Commonwealth of Virginia and his constituents.

In order to responsibly reduce our deficit, Congressman Scott believes that it is imperative that Congress go back and review the Fiscal Cliff Deal and cancel some of the tax cuts that were permanently extended in order to cancel the sequester. He also believes that Congress should review our tax code and end the numerous special interest tax breaks that riddle our tax code.

Important Budget Links

Budget News & Editorials

FY 2016 Budget

MORE ON FEDERAL BUDGET

July 30, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host a town hall meeting in Chesapeake, Virginia. This town hall will be an opportunity for constituents to learn more about the Representatives’ efforts to protect access to affordable health care, as well as hear more about the critical legislation House Democrats have passed in the first 200 days of the new Congress. This will be an opportunity for residents of the 3rd and 4th congressional districts to provide comments and ask questions.

July 25, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which prevents draconian, across-the-board spending cuts scheduled for FY2020 and FY2021. It also suspends the debt ceiling for the next two years. “Eight years ago, congressional Republicans almost brought our country to the brink of fiscal calamity by playing a dangerous game of chicken with our nation’s debt ceiling.

June 25, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) praised passage of several fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills, putting the House of Representatives on track to send all twelve appropriations bills to the Senate by the end of June. Congressman Scott offered several amendments to these bills that were ultimately adopted by the full House of Representatives.

March 11, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), a member of the House Budget Committee, issued the following statement on the release of President Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020: “The President’s budget highlights his priorities – unfortunately American families do not appear to be one of those priorities. In order to protect massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest among us, this budget decimates funding for infrastructure, civil works projects, Medicare and Medicaid, and many other critical programs. Instead of investing in our future, this budget takes food from those most in need, makes housing harder to access for those who have been left behind, and ignores the needs of America’s children and working families.”

January 24, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after being appointed to the House Budget Committee for the 116th Congress: “I am very excited to return to the House Budget Committee,” said Congressman Scott. “We must restore fiscal sanity to the federal budget process in order to balance the federal budget. Under Republicans’ unified control of the federal government, we have exploded the deficit to give tax breaks to corporations and the top 1% without paying for them. I know that under Chairman John Yarmuth’s leadership, we will create a budget that will be For the People and prioritize workers and the middle class instead of the wealthy and well-connected.”

January 11, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement: “Thousands of federal employees did not receive their pay checks today because President Trump is holding them as hostages to get funding for a wall that he always promised would be paid for by Mexico. The shutdown has caused unnecessary financial pain to thousands but also jeopardized the security of our nation. This must stop.

December 22, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement: “Republicans currently control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House, yet we are entering the third government shutdown this year. The Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan solution to keep the government open until February 8th while we continue to debate the best way to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, and House Democrats were willing to support that compromise.

August 30, 2018 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after President Trump announced that his Administration would cut the cost-of-living adjustment for civilian federal employees and would eliminate locality pay across the board: “President Trump’s announcement today that he is seeking to freeze locality pay and deny federal employees a cost-of-living increase for 2019 is insulting to our federal workforce. It is puzzling that the President would do this at a time when his Administration has insisted that our economy is doing so well and his tax cuts for the wealthy are ‘paying for themselves.’

June 7, 2018 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, 6 months ago, Congress passed a tax cut that cost almost $2 trillion that overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the wealthy. Today, the Republicans are asking struggling children and families to foot the bill. Nearly half of the $15 billion in cuts in the Trump-GOP recessions package targets the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. While $7 billion may be a rounding error in the corporate tax cut, eliminating this funding from CHIP will jeopardize its ability to ensure access to healthcare for the children and families who depend on the program every year.

April 12, 2018 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.J. Res. 2. We often get distracted by debating the title of a proposed constitutional amendment without getting into serious discussion about whether or not the specific provisions will actually help balance the budget. If we are ever going to balance the budget, the fact is it is going to require Members to cast some tough votes, and many of these votes will be career-ending votes, and a constitutional amendment calling itself the balanced budget amendment cannot change that reality.

Civil Rights

Civil Rights

Congressman Scott is an ardent defender of civil rights.  Although America has made great strides in civil rights in the past few decades, current events have shown that we still have a long way to go.  The current threats to civil rights are not the explicit actions our predecessors may have seen and experienced. Instead, they are subtle actions that, if allowed to continue, could threaten our rights and lives in the future. Examples of such actions include religious and racial profiling, xenophobic rhetoric in political discourse, expelling minorities from school in disproportionate rates, uneven application of justice, employment discrimination, restricting the right to vote, and pay inequality.

As one of the chief authors of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2015, Congressman Scott ensured the bill lived up to the promise of Brown v. Board of Education and the original Elmenatary and Secondary Education Act by guaranteeing the right to an equal educational opportunity for every child, regardless of race, income, language status, or disability. As Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor he has also authored the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act and the Strength in Diversity Act of 2019. These bills will help guarantee equity in educaiton and help address racial inequities in public schools. 

Congressman Scott has is also one of the chief sponsors of the Do No Harm Act, a bill that ensures nobody can use religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate against another person. He has also co-sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at correcting or preventing the furtherance of discriminatory acts, such as the Equality Act and the End Racial Profiling Act of 2013. He also supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the first bill passed by the House under his leadership as Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor was the Paycheck Fairness Act.

MORE ON CIVIL RIGHTS

July 30, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host a town hall meeting in Chesapeake, Virginia. This town hall will be an opportunity for constituents to learn more about the Representatives’ efforts to protect access to affordable health care, as well as hear more about the critical legislation House Democrats have passed in the first 200 days of the new Congress. This will be an opportunity for residents of the 3rd and 4th congressional districts to provide comments and ask questions.

July 17, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3305, Designating the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2509 George Mason Drive in Virginia Beach, Virginia as the “Ryan Keith Cox Post Office Building.” I appreciate my colleague, the gentlelady from Virginia, Mrs. LURIA, for introducing this bill.

July 9, 2019 In The News

When the Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, declaring racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-3rd, was 7 years old. Sixty-five years later, much has changed for the longtime congressman, the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee.

June 20, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of my amendment to H.R. 3055, which would provide funding for the 400 Years of African-American History Commission. I would like to thank my colleagues, Representatives JOHN LEWIS, BARBARA LEE, and RASHIDA TLAIB for cosponsoring this amendment which would provide an additional $500,000 to support the work of this important commission. I would also like to thank Chairwoman LOWEY, Chairwoman MCCOLLUM and the Appropriations Committee for working with me to include funding in the underlying bill and their support for this amendment.

June 18, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) issued the following statement after the release of a recent GAO Report, entitled “K-12 Education: Education Should Take Immediate Action to Address Inaccuracies in Federal Restraint and Seclusion Data.” “The GAO’s report makes clear that school districts across the country are not accurately reporting the use of restraint or seclusion — disciplinary practices that jeopardize student and staff health and safety. In fact, the research shows these disciplinary practices make classrooms less safe. The report’s findings are consistent with the testimony the Committee on Education and Labor heard earlier this year and raise serious concerns about the prevalence of these harmful discipline practices. The Education Department must immediately implement GAO’s recommendations to give the public and Congress an accurate understanding of the use of restraint and seclusion.

May 21, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The Peninsula Agency on Aging honored Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, with the Award of Prestige. “I am honored to receive the Award of Prestige from the Peninsula Agency on Aging,” said Congressman Scott. “Our local Agencies on Aging are relentless advocates for our community’s seniors. These organizations help provide our seniors with the health services, nutrition, and supportive services they need, which makes them less likely to suffer illness and injury, less likely to incur expensive hospital visits, and more likely to live independently.

May 21, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) introduced the Fairness and Accuracy in Criminal Background Checks Act of 2019. The bill addresses the serious problems with the FBI database by requiring that records are accurate before they are sent to the agencies and employers that rely on them to make hiring and licensing decisions. “Far too often, many face an additional barrier created by faulty criminal background records released by the FBI,” said Congressman Scott.

May 20, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I thank Dr. SCHRIER and Mr. Comer for sponsoring this important legislation. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, or Stronger CAPTA. Congress has a vital role in helping States protect children from physical injury and emotional trauma associated with child abuse and neglect.

May 17, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key laws to ensure that LBGTQ Americans receive the same legal protections afforded to other Americans: “Today is a historic day for the LGBTQ community. As Chairman, I was proud to consider this important civil rights legislation in the Education and Labor Committee. Today I am proud to stand with my House colleagues as we pass the Equality Act to ensure that LGBTQ Americans can live free from discrimination. The LGBTQ community has made many strides in the last few years, including marriage equality and the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

May 17, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, today is a historic day. Sixty-five years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racially segregated schools were inherently unequal and, therefore, unconstitutional. Today is also a historic day for the LGBTQ community, because today the House of Representatives will pass the Equality Act.

Democracy

Voting Rights

Congressman Scott believes that voting is the very foundation of our democracy.  To underscore his belief, he often quotes the Supreme Court’s decision in Wesberry v. Sanders (1964), where the Court states:

No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live.  Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.

Congressman Scott is an ardent supporter of the Voting Rights Act and was instrumental in the passage of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, César Chávez, Barbara C. Jordan, William C. Velásquez, and Dr. Hector P. Garcia Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.  In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, a ruling that significantly undermined the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, Congressman Scott joined a small group of his colleagues in Congress to delicately craft a bi-partisan legislative fix to appropriately address the Court’s concerns in Shelby County and ensure that the core protections of the Voting Rights Act are restored.

Congressman Scott is working tirelessly to ensure that this legislation passes Congress so that no one’s right to vote is infringed.  

June 25, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements: “Today marks six years since the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Shelby County v. Holder case which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The decision was a huge setback for voting rights and dismantled fundamental voter protections that had been in place for nearly 50 years.

March 8, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the For The People Act: “The For The People Act is a historic legislative package to help reform our democracy. H.R. 1 will help restore political power to the people by strengthening ethics laws, ending the culture of corruption in Washington and reducing the role of dark, unaccountable money in politics.”

June 12, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott issued the following statement to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Loving v. Virginia: “In 1959, Mildred and Richard Loving were charged with violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. This injustice launched a courageous legal challenge that culminated in the Supreme Court ruling on this day, 50 years ago, that the United States would no longer allow race-based restrictions on the right to marry. The Loving Court unanimously stated that marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ confirming that America is a place of equality and freedom.

September 4, 2016 In The News

IN THE 1964 LANDMARK decision Wesberry v. Sanders, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that “[n]o right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.” Sadly, many state and local governments responded to this assessment by continuing their sordid history of blocking access to the ballot box. To ensure that American citizens were not stripped of this precious constitutional right, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

July 23, 2016 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia in Howell v. McAuliffe striking down Governor Terry McAuliffe’s April 2016 executive order restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 formerly incarcerated individuals: “Yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia is very disappointing. Virginia is one of the few states in the Union that still permanently disenfranchises formerly incarcerated individuals who have already paid their debt to society. The history behind the reasoning for this provision of Virginia law is striking and appalling.

August 6, 2015 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott released the following statement on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965: “The Voting Rights Act was one of the most consequential pieces of legislation of the Civil Rights Movement. The right to vote is the very foundation of our democracy. The Supreme Court noted in their 1964 decision in Wesberry v. Sanders that ‘no right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.’ For the last 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has helped to guarantee that no one’s right to vote is undermined. The law has been instrumental in increasing voter participation, allowing minority communities to elect candidates of their choice, and increasing the number of African Americans and other minorities in elected positions at the local, state and federal levels of government.

October 7, 2014 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement on the U.S. District Court in Richmond overturning the boundary lines of Virginia’s Third Congressional District and mandating the Virginia General Assembly redraw the district by April 2015: “I was not involved in this lawsuit. However, during the last round of redistricting in 2011, I was a strong proponent of the redistricting plan sponsored by State Senator Mamie Locke, which made all congressional districts in the Commonwealth more compact and contiguous. I hope and expect the General Assembly will more equitably and appropriately balance the influence of all Virginia’s voters, as mandated by this decision, when they redraw the third congressional district and adjacent congressional districts next session.”

September 25, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations on the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that he will resign from the Department of Justice upon the confirmation of his successor: “Attorney General Holder has diligently served as our nation’s top law enforcement official for the last six years. During his tenure, I have enjoyed working with him on efforts to reform our nation’s sentencing laws, protect voting rights, and guarantee the civil rights of all Americans. His leadership was instrumental in passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which I sponsored in the House.

August 6, 2014 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott released the following statement on the 49th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965: “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of the most consequential pieces of legislation of the Civil Rights Movement. For the last 49 years, the Voting Rights Act has helped ensure that no one’s right to vote is infringed. Unfortunately, as we mark this anniversary, we must recognize that we still have work to do to restore the core protections of the Voting Rights Act. Last year’s Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder dealt a striking blow to the Voting Rights Act by ruling the coverage formula in Section 4 of the law unconstitutional.

April 2, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) was presented a Congressional Leadership Award by the National Urban League for his work on protecting voting rights for all Americans and for his leadership role in the introduction and championing of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.

Economy

Economy And Jobs

We all know that the current economic climate has taken a toll on many families across the nation and that the economy has been slow to recover from the deep recession. Congressman Scott believes the best long-term way we can create jobs and get people back to work is investing in education and training, beginning with early education and continuing through college or vocational education, as well as adult education and training.  A well-educated workforce is more important today than ever before. With the rapid development of this global marketplace, the United States is no longer the single dominant country in the world and American’s competitive advantage is a well educated workforce.

Large and targeted investments in workforce development are long overdue and it is time that they are addressed in Washington. Congress recently seized upon the opportunity to do this through reuathoization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which expired in 2003. WIA is the main federal legislation that coordinates federal workforce development programs. Congressman Scott supported the reauthorization of WIA through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which included an enhanced definition of “individuals with barriers to employment” that explicitly includes older workers over the age of 55 as well the long-term unemployed.  This explicit inclusion means that state and local workforce plans must include goals and strategies for serving these and other disenfranchised groups.  Additionally, the new law requires that 75% of youth funding in the bill support out-of-school youth, sometimes referred to as “opportunity youth” for the opportunites they represent for their communities.  When kids drop out of school they are much more likely to get into trouble and commit crimes.  And once a juvenile falls off of the right track, he or she will face a range of problems and taxpayers will be on the hook for the cost of incarcerating these individuals.   By investing in opportunity youth, Congressman Scott believes that we are investing money on the front end so we don’t end up footing the bill later on.  

Many believe that during these tough fiscal times we cannot afford to invest in job creation. But Congressman Scott believes that the choice is clear – we must invest in education and job training so that we have a strong workforce and strong nation for future generations. We can choose to put funding towards direct job creation programs, such as transportation and infrastructure projects. This will help accelerate our recovery, putting millions back to work, and gradually return our budget to balance over the next decade, all without jeopardizing Social Security or Medicare or other important social safety net programs. As Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Congressman Scott is the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. This bill would be good for workers, business and the economy. 

MORE ON ECONOMY AND JOBS

August 2, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the economy added 164,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent. “After 106 straight months of private sector job growth, workers and middle-class families are still not receiving a fair share of economic growth. Today’s jobs report adds to an extensive body of evidence showing that the low unemployment rate is not resulting in sufficient wage growth for millions of Americans.

July 30, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host a town hall meeting in Chesapeake, Virginia. This town hall will be an opportunity for constituents to learn more about the Representatives’ efforts to protect access to affordable health care, as well as hear more about the critical legislation House Democrats have passed in the first 200 days of the new Congress. This will be an opportunity for residents of the 3rd and 4th congressional districts to provide comments and ask questions.

July 18, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House voted to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which gradually raises the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. “Today, House Democrats took a major step toward raising wages for up to 33 million American workers. After more than 10 years with no increase in the federal minimum wage – the longest stretch in history – the minimum wage is now a poverty wage everywhere in America.

July 18, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

   Mr. Speaker, the idea behind the Federal minimum wage is simple: Hardworking Americans should be paid at least enough to provide for themselves and their families.

   After more than a decade with no increase in the minimum wage, the longest stretch since the minimum wage was established in 1938, it is no longer serving that purpose.

   Today, the Federal minimum wage is a poverty wage in every region of our Nation. Our Nation’s workers deserve better.

July 17, 2019 In The News

After nearly seven in 10 voters in Arkansas decided to increase the state’s minimum wage, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, is betting the four GOP members of Congress who represent that state will have a tough time voting against his proposal for a gradual increase in the federal minimum. That federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Arkansas began raising its minimum in 2014, and voted again last November for another increase.In fact, says Scott, even by 2021, the $11 an hour minimum wage that Arkansas voters set will be higher than the gradual increases his measure would phase in. Scott aims to bring the national minimum to $15 an hour in gradual steps over the next six years.

July 15, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, we are considering the Raise the Wage Act later this week. That proposal will gradually increase the Federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, and after that, adjust for inflation.

   I thank the gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Horsford) for convening this Special Order to discuss the minimum wage on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, because this gives us an opportunity to explore the historic and continuing intersection between race and the Federal minimum wage.

July 11, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chair, I rise today in opposition to Amendment No. 47, which directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reclassify public safety telecommunications officers, also called 911 dispatchers, as a protective service occupation in the U.S. Government’s Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. This Amendment would have no direct effect on these workers’ wages, benefits, or other resources; proponents of this reclassification have stated that “the benefit of reclassification is recognition and respect.”

July 8, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the impact of gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 over five years. “The Congressional Budget Office’s report comes to a clear conclusion: The benefits of the Raise the Wage Act for America’s workers far outweigh any potential costs. According to CBO’s estimates, the Raise the Wage Act would give up to 27 million workers a raise, lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, and boost economic growth by putting money in the pockets of workers who will spend that money in the economy.

July 5, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the economy added 224,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. “Today’s report is further evidence that the overall strength of the American economy is not trickling down to millions of American workers. Even though working-class and middle-class workers are better educated and more productive than ever, their wages have not kept up with the rising costs of housing, child care, college, and other key pillars of long-term financial security.

June 26, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), along with 44 House Democrats urged Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to withdraw a proposal that undermines joint employment standards under theFair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).

Shipbuilding

The 3rd Congressional District is home to Newport News Shipbuilding, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and many small and medium sized ship repair yards. Congressman Scott is honored to represent thousands of the nation’s best shipbuilders. In Congress, Congressman Scott is a proud and  active member of the bipartisan Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus. He has worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support shipbuilding and our nation’s shipbuilders in Congress.

Congressman Scott understands that shipbuilding and our shipbuilders are the backbone of America’s Navy and vital to our national security. In Congress, one of Congressman Scott’s top priorities is ensuring that the shipbuilding industry has the necessary funding and support to continue building and maintaining the most advanced ships in the world. Congressman Scott opposed the Budget Control Act, in part, because he was concerned about its impact on our national security and our ability to build and maintain America’s naval fleet. If sequestration is not cancelled, shipbuilding and ship maintenance will take a significant hit, which will impact shipbuilders and their families across Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.

May 16, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to commemorate a historic neighborhood in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. The Historic Truxtun Community in Portsmouth, Virginia will celebrate its centennial on May 18, 2019. To mark the occasion, I would like to take a moment to highlight the history of this neighborhood and recognize its contributions to our community.

January 31, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03), Rob Wittman (VA-01), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Elaine Luria (VA-02) issued the following statement after U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer signed a contract to buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers, which will be constructed in Newport News, Virginia: “Today’s announcement that the Secretary of the Navy has signed the contract for a two-carrier buy is great news for the dedicated shipbuilders in Hampton Roads and the small business community across Virginia and the nation that support the construction of our carrier fleet.

September 27, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following passage of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 6157 the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019: “I have the honor of representing Hampton Roads, Virginia, home to hundreds of thousands of service members and the heart of our nation’s shipbuilding industrial base. That is why I am very pleased that we have passed a full defense appropriations bill before the start of the fiscal year for the first time in a decade.

January 18, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after voting against the House Republicans’ latest short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government: “Today’s vote was the fourth Continuing Resolution (CR) in as many months. CRs are an abdication of Congress’ constitutional responsibility to ensure that our federal government efficiently and effectively serves the American people. CRs hamstring federal agencies and freeze their ability to award new grants and puts a hold on the Department of Defense’ ability to sign new contracts for shipbuilding, ship maintenance, and other critical national security priorities. Additionally, due to operating under continued uncertainty as a result of CRs, federal agencies waste billions of dollars planning on divergent budget scenarios, including preparing for a government shutdown.”

December 20, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C. – Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and Joe Courtney (D-CT), were joined by 127 Representatives in sending a letter to Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis supporting a block buy of two Ford-class aircraft carriers in FY2019. “Dual procurement allows our Navy to have the capabilities it needs to protect and defend this nation’s national security. A dual buy would provide predictability and sustainability to the shipbuilding industry. A more reliable procurement process will bring great benefits to the Navy’s shipbuilding programs, and save taxpayers’ money,” Rep. Scott said.

April 28, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to expand off-shore drilling: “Nearly seven years to the day after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I was disappointed to see President Trump sign an Executive Order to review the 2017-2022 Five Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program, protections put in place for sensitive offshore areas, and regulations put in place to ensure that disasters similar to Deepwater Horizon never take place.

March 2, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s visit to Newport News Shipbuilding: “I always welcome the opportunity for the President of the United States to visit my district and the world’s best shipbuilders in Newport News. President Trump will see firsthand how dedicated these men and women are to their trade and to making sure that our Navy’s aircraft carriers and submarines are the most advanced in the world.

December 8, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on his No vote on H.R. 2028, the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017: “I am disappointed that House and Senate Republicans could not advance a more responsible bill to fund the federal government. Continuing Resolutions are inherently bad policy and hinder the work of the federal government. Considering the uncertainty that surrounds the incoming administration, I think it is more responsible for this Congress to enact a yearlong omnibus appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.

October 24, 2016 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on the recommendations of the Center for a New American Security that the President and Congress should cancel the Ford-class aircraft carrier program and other programs at the Department of Defense: “Our national security depends on a modern and technologically advanced military. While there have been issues related to the construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy and its primary shipbuilder for the Ford-class have already taken steps to reduce costs and address these issues for the next two aircraft carriers. Cancelling the Ford-class program would have severe consequences for national security and harm efforts to replenish and replace the fleet in the coming decades.

June 5, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) along with U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Randy Forbes (R-VA-4), and Rob Wittman (R-VA-1) applauded the U.S. Navy for signing a more than $4 billion contract to award the construction of the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) to Newport News Shipbuilding. “Today’s announcement marks an important step forward in designing and building the second in this new Ford class of aircraft carriers,” said Sen. Warner. “This contract will allow Newport News Shipbuilding to plan for the future and provides stability and predictability for its workers, the world’s best shipbuilders.”

Trade

June 18, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) issued the following statement on stand-alone legislation to grant the President Trade Promotion Authority, commonly known as Fast Track: “As I did last week, I again opposed Trade Promotion Authority because it lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure that labor standards, environmental standards, and consumer protections are respected in partner countries and here at home. I remain concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the multi-nation trade deal currently being negotiated by the President and the impetus for today’s vote — is not the best course of action for our economy and America’s middle class.”

June 12, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) issued the following statement on today’s trade votes: “While I am a strong supporter of Trade Adjustment Assistance that provides needed support to workers who have had their jobs shipped overseas, I was unable to vote for today’s TAA title of the Trade Act. When taken into context, this TAA authorization fell woefully short in our duty to support American workers. It lacked adequate funding, left out a large sector of the economy, and is tied directly to Congress granting the President Trade Promotion Authority.

June 8, 2015

Dear Colleague:

As the debate about Fast Track trade authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continues, we write to address the frequently repeated assertion that the TPP will have the strongest labor and environmental standards ever.  To assess whether the TPP is setting a high watermark, we should look to past agreements to see if we are progressing or simply remaking mistakes of the past.

Education

Education

Supporting the Path to College and Career

As the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Congressman Scott believes that if we are going to properly prepare our country’s youth for their future, we must ensure that we are giving them the fundamental tools necessary to grow into skillful and productive members of the workforce, starting from the beginning of childhood.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Congressman Scott is a strong supporter of early childhood education.  Research shows that early childhood education during a child’s early, formative years is critical to a child’s brain development. Early education can help a child succeed academically as well as develop soft skills, such as curiosity and a motivation to learn. Studies have also shown that children who participate in a high quality early childhood education program are less likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, or be involved in violence or illegal drugs in later life. That is why he is the lead sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act, a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working middle class families and those living paycheck to paycheck. 

Congressman Scott is also a strong supporter of Head Start. 25 million pre-school aged children have benefited from Head Start programs nationwide. Head Start provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. Congressman Scott opposed the Budget Control Act of 2011 because he understood that sequestration’s automatic, across-the-board cuts would slash Head Start, forcing children out of the program and onto a waiting list.  

PRIMARY/SECONDARY EDUCATION

Congressman Scott understands that Congress must work together to ensure that our elementary and secondary schools are places where children can thrive and grow. All children, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, language, country of origin, or disability, need to start off on an equal playing field with the best education available. The U.S. currently struggles with an “achievement gap,” certain groups of students – mainly minorities – fall far behind their higher-achieving peers. As long as the achievement gap exists, our children will be unable to reach their full potential.  Congressman Scott was one of the chief architects of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law by President Obama in 2015. ESSA is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and a replacement to the No Child Left Behind Act. 

ESSA lives up to the promises of Brown v. Board of Education and the intent of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by building on past reauthorizations of the law. ESSA puts in place assessment, accountability, and improvement systems that will close achievement gaps with evidence-based strategies that meet the unique needs of students and schools. Additionally the law requires meaningful state and local action in every school where students – or any subgroup of students – aren’t learning. It requires that any action taken to support school improvement is driven by student outcomes – and that poverty can’t be used as an excuse for not stepping up to better serve students, while also supporting teachers and school leaders with resources and professional development opportunities that will prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s workforce. As Chairman on the Education and Labor Committee, Congressman Scott is conducting rigorous oversight on the Department of Education ensuring they are properly implementing the law. 

COLLEGE AND CAREER

A strong investment in education is one of the most important ways in which we can help keep America’s workforce and economy strong for future generations. A good education can be the difference between the minimum wage job that barely keeps a person afloat and a job with a living wage and full benefits. In addition to increased earnings, individuals with higher levels of education are less likely to be unemployed, receive public assistance, work in unskilled jobs with little upward mobility, and become involved in the criminal justice system. For these reasons, an education past the high school level – whether community college, a four year college, vocational training or a trade or apprentice program – is important not only for earnings, but also for landing a good job that can support a worker and their family.

But the truth is that a high school degree alone just does not get you as far as it used to. In order to succeed today, both individually and as a nation, we need to be making greater investments in education. For many, the problem is still access to quality education. In a weak economy, it is particularly difficult for students to find ways to pay tuition. Many students apply for Financial Aid, which often consists of scholarships, loans and grants, including the well known Pell Grant. Unfortunately, for many students, the Pell Grant does not cover the full cost of tuition. 

Congressman Scott is focussed on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and is determined to put forth bold policy solutions to make higher education work for all, focusing on three main areas: access, affordability, and completion. Attending a higher education institution should be fully accessible regardless of a student’s race, socioeconomic status, disability, or family circumstance. With higher education still out of reach for too many Americans, Committee Democrats are working to lift the burden of student loan debt, and are focused on solutions that help all students complete their degree or credential on time. Congressman Scott was the lead sponsor of the Aim Higher Act, a bill which ensures every student has a path to a debt-free degree or credential that leads to a rewarding career. 

SCHOOL SAFETY

In the wake of the tragic Newtown and Parkland mass shootings, Congressman Scott welcomes the national discussion about how to keep our schools and children safe. However, we must choose evidence-based solutions that have been been shown by research to improve school climate, reduce bullying and conflict, and foster student achievement.

Congressman Scott opposes the proposal to put armed guards and other law enforcement officers, such as school resource officers, in schools. Reports show that law enforcement officers frequently respond to student misbehavior by arresting the student and putting him or her in the juvenile justice system. Those reports also show that the children are less likely to be victims of crime if the school had hired more school counselors, instead of school resource officers (SROs). Research indicates that students who have contact with the criminal justice system are less likely to graduate and more likely to commit crimes as adults than students who are given in-school punishments, like detention. We must ensure that we are putting our nation’s children on a school-to-college-and-career pipeline, not a school-to-prison pipeline.

MORE ON EDUCATION

July 28, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott issued the following statement on the passing of former Norfolk State University president Dr. Harrison B. Wilson: “I was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Harrison B. Wilson. He was a renowned basketball coach, educator, and long-time president of Norfolk State University. His tenure at NSU was marked by significant growth and his passion for excellence helped increase the university’s stature as a premier institution of higher education in Virginia. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Dr. Lucy Wilson, his children, grandchildren, and the countless students positively impacted by his life and work.”

July 23, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing deep concern over the Department’s role in the abrupt closure of Dream Center Education Holdings—a recently defunct, for-profit higher education company. The letter details newly obtained documents suggesting that the Department of Education enabled Dream Center to mislead students regarding the accreditation status of two Dream Center-owned schools. The documents also reveal that despite knowledge of Dream Center’s false claims of accreditation, the Department did not immediately require the for-profit company to take corrective action. Instead, the Department supported efforts to retroactively accredit the institutions in question by rewriting Department policy.

July 9, 2019 In The News

When the Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, declaring racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-3rd, was 7 years old. Sixty-five years later, much has changed for the longtime congressman, the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee.

June 24, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of The Apprentice School in Newport News, Virginia, which was founded in 1919 at Newport News Shipbuilding. The Apprentice School has been continually recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and globally as an extraordinary apprentice program. It is a leading example of how apprentice programs have been redesigned to teach a wide array of skilled trades, while also offering an educational program rich in academic instruction, craft training, leadership, and extracurricular activities.

June 18, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) issued the following statement after the release of a recent GAO Report, entitled “K-12 Education: Education Should Take Immediate Action to Address Inaccuracies in Federal Restraint and Seclusion Data.” “The GAO’s report makes clear that school districts across the country are not accurately reporting the use of restraint or seclusion — disciplinary practices that jeopardize student and staff health and safety. In fact, the research shows these disciplinary practices make classrooms less safe. The report’s findings are consistent with the testimony the Committee on Education and Labor heard earlier this year and raise serious concerns about the prevalence of these harmful discipline practices. The Education Department must immediately implement GAO’s recommendations to give the public and Congress an accurate understanding of the use of restraint and seclusion.

May 8, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today, on behalf of Representatives DANNY DAVIS, GREGORY MEEKS, DAVID SCOTT, EMANUEL CLEAVER, AL GREEN, STEVEN HORSFORD and myself, to recognize and honor the life and legacy of Robert Harold Ogle–a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and a trailblazer in the United States Congress.

April 24, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, issued the following statement after Rodney Robinson was announced as the 2019 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Robinson is a social studies teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. “I am proud to congratulate Richmond public school teacher Rodney Robinson, who was named 2019 National Teacher of the Year this morning. While Congress has a critical role in providing students, parents, and educators the resources they need to succeed, it is dedicated leaders like Mr. Robinson who are ultimately responsible for teaching and inspiring students every day in classrooms across the country.

February 26, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and Labor, and Chairman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (NMI-AL), House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, along with 96 other cosponsors, introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act − a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working middle class families and those living paycheck to paycheck. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced a companion bill in the Senate with 35 cosponsors.

February 21, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-05) announced plans to hold five bipartisan hearings on higher education, marking the formal start of an effort the reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the 116th Congress. The joint announcement reflects the Committee’s shared intention to host a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas for improving America’s higher education system.

February 6, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after President Trump delivered this State of the Union address before Congress. “President Trump’s State of the Union – like the first two years of his presidency – largely ignored the challenges facing students, workers, and communities across the country. Access to a quality education, a good-paying job, and affordable health care are fundamental issues for all Americans. Rather than offering credible solutions, the president continued to spread misinformation about immigration and advocate for an ineffective and inefficient wall.

Environment

Chesapeake Bay

As a co-chair of the Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force, Congressman Scott believes the Chesapeake Bay is one America’s greatest treasures and that it is vital that we protect and preserve the Bay for future generations. During his time in the Virginia House of Delegates, Congressman Scott was a member of the joint Virginia-Maryland legislative task force that first recommended creation of a multi-state commission to address Bay issues. This recommendation led to the creation of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, which brings together federal agencies and local governments to find the most effective ways to protect and preserve the Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is a commercial and recreational resource for millions of Virginians, as well as visitors and tourists and is a significant economic driver in the region. Many generations of Virginians have used the Bay generations for recreation, agriculture, industry and navigation, and Congressman Scott is committed to preserving and protecting the Bay to keep it available for generations to come.

In order to accomplish to protect and preserve the Bay, Congressman Scott supports strong funding for programs such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, put in place by the 2008 Farm Bill to provide targeted assistance to States and producers needed to meet water quality goals, while maintaining accountability on these programs to taxpayers.

Congressman Scott also opposes drilling off Virginia’s coast because of its potential harmful environmental impact to our coastline and the Bay. He believes that offshore drilling will put at risk all the gains we have made in conserving and restoring the Bay. 

MORE ON CHESAPEAKE BAY

July 6, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On Tuesday morning, Congressman Bobby Scott will host Congresswoman Kathy Castor, the Chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, for a tour of the City Line and Paula Maria Village apartments, a residential community along the Newport News and Hampton border that has dealt with repetitive flooding from Newmarket Creek.

June 26, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force, praised the House of Representatives for passage of H.R. 3055, an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020 that contained important funding to strengthen the health of the Chesapeake Bay. “The Chesapeake Bay is one of America’s greatest treasures and I am thrilled to see high levels of support for the Bay in this year’s appropriations bills,” said Congressman Scott. “I have been committed to the restoration and conservation of the Bay for my entire career in elected office. I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure the Congress provides the necessary resources so that the next generation of Americans will still be able to enjoy this precious natural resource.”

May 23, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Providence United Church of Christ in Chesapeake, Virginia on its 165th anniversary. Providence Church began as an informal group of slaves and freed blacks coming together to worship. In the beginning, they gathered for worship in parishioners’ homes and in public spaces. This time together was important for African-Americans because it provided spiritual support and a sense of community.

March 7, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) today announced that she is leading bipartisan House legislation that would fully fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program for the next five years, ensuring that states get the resources they need to comply with their obligations to protect and preserve the Bay. Original House cosponsors of the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Act include Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force Co-Chairs Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), and Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-03). Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) are leading the effort in the Senate.

December 11, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House and Senate leaders of the Agriculture Committees unveiled a bipartisan, bicameral 2018 Farm Bill conference report. The conference report contains several major provisions from the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act, which was introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) last year. “Improving conservation practices throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is critical to our efforts to help restore the Chesapeake Bay, and that is why we introduced the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act,” said Congressman Scott.

January 4, 2018 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Trump Administration released a 5 year proposal to drastically increase off-shore oil and gas drilling off America’s coastlines, including Virginia: “The proposal released by the Trump Administration to radically expand offshore drilling is bad for Americans, businesses, the economy, the military and the environment. There is a broad, bipartisan coalition of governors, advocacy groups and concerned Americans that are opposed to offshore drilling because of all the risks associated with the practice.”

November 16, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the co-chair of the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Task Force, introduced the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017. This legislation increases mandatory funding for the Bay, strengthens the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCCP), and provides more opportunities for effective conservation efforts. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the Senate companion measure with bipartisan support. The legislation is supported by Bay State Governors, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Delaware Governor John Carney, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, and more than 70 conservation groups.

September 7, 2017 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chair, this amendment would prohibit the EPA from spending any funds to ensure that States fulfill their obligations under the Clean Water Act to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. If passed into law, this amendment would endanger the progress we have made in restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed and would put in jeopardy not only the Chesapeake Bay itself, but also critical economic contributions that the bay provides.

August 6, 2017 In The News

WHEN TERRY McAULIFFE became the governor of Virginia, he inherited leadership of a state that had fallen behind in responding to the effects of global climate change and realizing the economy opportunities presented by the new energy economy. From the beginning of his term, McAuliffe and his team committed themselves to making the commonwealth more resilient and promoting clean-energy technologies that cut carbon emissions and create new jobs. In fact, McAuliffe and our congressional delegation secured a $120.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund innovative resilience projects in Norfolk. Earlier this year, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and I introduced the Building Up Infrastructure and Limiting Disasters through Resilience (BUILD Resilience) Act, which is modeled after the National Disaster Resilience Competition that provided the HUD grant.

May 22, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and U.S. Representative Bobby Scott will introduce the Building Up Infrastructure and Limiting Disasters through Resilience (BUILD Resilience) Act, a bill to establish a competitive grant program for resilient infrastructure investment. This legislation will bolster the ability of regions like Hampton Roads to implement projects and strategies to reduce regional vulnerability to threats like sea level rise and recurrent flooding. With a range from 1 ½ to 7 feet of sea level rise projected by the year 2100, the Hampton Roads region is the second largest population center at risk from sea level rise in the nation, behind only New Orleans. Analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and the Multihazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences estimate that every $1 invested in resilient infrastructure upfront saves $3 to $4 in future losses on the back-end after a major disaster strikes.

 

Energy & Environment

Protecting and conserving our environment is one of Congressman Scott’s top priorities. Throughout his time in public office, Congressman Scott has consistently received high marks and awards from national environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Congressman Scott believes that human activity has contributed to climate change and has been a consistent advocate of efforts to mitigate global warming. Scott has co-sponsored legislation in the House of Representatives that would promote investment in renewable energy, and is a supporter of the Green New Deal. 

While recognizing the need to keep gasoline and energy affordable, in order to protect the Chesapeake Bay and the tourism industry in Virginia, Scott has opposed opening up new areas to offshore oil and gas development off Virginia’s coast and elsewhere.  

July 10, 2019 In The News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The residents of City Line and Paula Maria Village apartments on the Peninsula are on the front lines of the rising threat of climate change. Congressman Bobby Scott, city leaders and Florida Representative Kathy Castor (D), the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, toured these neighborhoods Tuesday to learn more about the economic and social impact that flooding has on these communities. They say what they’ve learned today puts them on the right track towards change.

July 6, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On Tuesday morning, Congressman Bobby Scott will host Congresswoman Kathy Castor, the Chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, for a tour of the City Line and Paula Maria Village apartments, a residential community along the Newport News and Hampton border that has dealt with repetitive flooding from Newmarket Creek.

May 22, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) submitted the following testimony to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure highlighting programs that will directly impact the 3rd Congressional District of Virginia. “Thank you, Chairman DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves and members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for providing me this opportunity to discuss some of the priorities I believe should be reflected in any transportation and infrastructure legislation.

May 2, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act: “Today I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the House as we recommit ourselves to our moral obligation to act on climate. Climate change remains one of the greatest threats to our national security. As we pass the Climate Action Now Act today, we stand with our partners around the world as we recommit ourselves to the Paris Climate Accords.

November 2, 2018 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order to bolster Virginia’s resilience to sea level rise and natural hazards: “With neighborhoods and streets already underwater in the Hampton Roads area, Governor Northam knows that making Virginia more resilient to flooding is of the utmost importance. Creating a broad resiliency plan for the Commonwealth and a coordinated effort with localities is an important step to managing sea level rise and reducing future flooding risks.

January 12, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Representatives Donald McEachin, Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer, and Bobby Scott sent a letter to the Trump Administration requesting that Virginia be exempted from its offshore drilling proposal, citing local concerns over the risks to tourism, the watermen’s industry, and the country’s Naval operations.

January 4, 2018 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Trump Administration released a 5 year proposal to drastically increase off-shore oil and gas drilling off America’s coastlines, including Virginia: “The proposal released by the Trump Administration to radically expand offshore drilling is bad for Americans, businesses, the economy, the military and the environment. There is a broad, bipartisan coalition of governors, advocacy groups and concerned Americans that are opposed to offshore drilling because of all the risks associated with the practice.”

December 14, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Taylor, joined by Virginia Reps. Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Rob Wittman (VA-01), introduced the National Centers of Excellence in Coastal Flood Research and Education Act. This legislation designates public colleges and universities that provide research, data, and recommendations on the scientific, economic, policy, and risk analysis of coastal flooding as National Centers of Excellence in Coast Flood Research and Education.

September 28, 2017 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 1866, but I also stand concerned about the humanitarian crisis going on in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria and also the other hurricanes that have been in the area. More than 3.4 million people reside in Puerto Rico alone–U.S. citizens who are in need of full support of the Federal Government. This is more than the population of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, and Alaska combined–U.S. citizens, yet they have no voting Members of Congress. U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands serve in our military. In fact, Puerto Ricans serve in our military at a rate twice the general U.S. population, and they are hurting. They are fighting to survive, and they are in desperate need of food, clean water, medical supplies, and security.

September 27, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a request from the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $3M in reprogrammed funds that will go towards the Craney Island Eastward Expansion (CIEE) Project. This approval comes after a strong collaborative effort by Congressmen Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Scott Taylor (VA-02) who had been working with OMB to expedite approval of the request.

Health Care

Health Care

Affordable Care Act

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.  While a strong supporter of a single-payer health care system, Congressman Scott tirelessly worked with his colleagues in Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Four years later, the law’s provisions are improving the lives of millions of people in the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the United States.  No one can ever again be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.  No one ever again has to worry that one major illness will mean bankruptcy for his or her family. No senior citizen will ever again have to pay a co-pay for key preventive services, such as cancer screenings. While he is not opposed to improving the law as implementation continues, Congressman Scott is opposed to attempts to weaken or repeal Obamacare. As Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Congressman Scott is on the frontlines of defending the ACA from the constant sabotage attempts from the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans. Congressman Scott is a lead sponsor of the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019 and is a a co-sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

Medicare and Medicaid

Congressman Scott is also a strong supporter of Medicare and Medicaid and has strongly opposed repeated attempts to weaken or dismantle these critical health care programs.  Together, these programs insure almost 40% of Americans providing a critical safety net for those who are elderly, low-income, or disabled.  Congressman Scott does not support taking away these key health benefits for American families.  He has consistently opposed the Republican Budget, which has proposed to block grant Medicaid and end the Medicare guarantee by converting it into a voucher program.  Congressman Scott strongly supports maintaining and strengthening these programs to make sure that those who need them most can continue to rely on them. 

Learn More About Your Health Care Options

Briefing Materials

July 30, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host a town hall meeting in Chesapeake, Virginia. This town hall will be an opportunity for constituents to learn more about the Representatives’ efforts to protect access to affordable health care, as well as hear more about the critical legislation House Democrats have passed in the first 200 days of the new Congress. This will be an opportunity for residents of the 3rd and 4th congressional districts to provide comments and ask questions.

July 25, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Within the first two weeks of re-entry, individuals released from correctional facilities are 129 times more likely to die from an opioid overdose than the general population. To help ensure that individuals can access the care they need, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) reintroduced the Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act. This legislation would prohibit states from terminating an inmate’s Medicaid coverage while they are incarcerated, a practice that often prevents individuals from accessing treatment in the critical days and weeks after release. Instead, states would be required to suspend Medicaid coverage, ensuring access to health care services more quickly upon release. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia routinely terminate coverage for a Medicaid patient upon incarceration or detention. The result of termination is that upon discharge, individuals need to reapply for Medicaid in order to access health care services – a process that may take up to 45 to 90 days.

July 24, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Top House Democrats filed an amicus brief in federal court this week opposing the Trump administration’s unlawful expansion of association health plans (AHPs), which purposefully circumvents key consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit, which is hearing the administration’s appeal of a district court ruling that the administration’s attempt to expand is unlawful. In the brief, the Democratic leaders argue that the Trump administration’s effort to expand AHPs is antithetical to the text, structure, and history of the Affordable Care Act and undermines congressional intent.

July 23, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chairwoman Alma Adams (NC-12), introduced the Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Solvency Act of 2019 (H.R. 3876). This legislation would extend the black lung excise tax, which expired at the end of last year, to fund future benefits and health care for miners suffering from black lung disease. Without revenue from the tax, the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is at-risk of becoming insolvent at a time when the number of black lung cases is rapidly increasing. A May 2018 GAO report found that failure to extend the tax rate will increase the Fund’s debt from approximately $5 billion to $15 billion by 2050.

July 9, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on this afternoon’s oral arguments in the Texas v. United States case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. “Today, Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration are once again asking a court to strip access to affordable health care for millions of Americans.

June 13, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – TOMORROW, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) will visit the Southeastern Virginia Health System’s (SEVHS) newest facility in Newport News. Formerly known as the Peninsula Institute for Community Health, SEVHS is one of the leading community-based health providers in Hampton Roads and has benefited from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congressman Scott will host a roundtable discussion with physicians, nurses, and other community health officials before embarking on a tour of the facility.

June 12, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of this amendment to protect construction and shipyard workers from exposure to beryllium, an ultra-toxic metal. When beryllium dust is inhaled, it can trigger chronic beryllium disease, an irreversible lung disease that suffocates victims and often leads to a painful death. Beryllium is also a known human carcinogen.

May 16, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks during the floor debate for the H.R. 987 – Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. “Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield myself as much time as I may consume. I rise today in support of this bill to improve access to quality health coverage, protect the Affordable Care Act, and cut prescription drug costs for consumers. “Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the administration has consistently undermined the quality, affordable coverage that Americans have come to expect. “House Republicans passed a bill last year that CBO concluded would provide coverage for over 20 million fewer people, would increase premiums by 20 percent the first year, would cover less, and would jeopardize protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

May 16, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this bill to improve access to quality health coverage, protect the Affordable Care Act, and cut prescription drug costs for consumers.

May 9, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2019: “Today, the House took an important step in protecting Americans’ health care from the sabotage of the Trump Administration. Late last year, the Trump Administration issued guidance to states that would allow them to weaken critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions that are codified in the Affordable Care Act. The guidance also encouraged states to expand the sale of junk insurance plans that do not cover essential health benefits that Americans now expect from their health care.

Immigration

Immigration

Congressman Scott supports fair and humane immigration policies that will keep our borders secure and our citizens safe, assure that those who are fleeing violence and oppression are not thrust back into danger, prevent families from being ripped apart, promote a flourishing economy, and treat all individuals who attempt to enter into our country with respect and dignity. 

Congressman Scott also believes that Congress must work together to build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws as well as a nation of immigrants. He co-sponsored and voted for the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. Congressman Scott stands ready to work with his colleagues on comprehensive  reform of our broken immigration system in a fair and humane way.  

August 12, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security released a final rule to expand grounds for denying legal U.S. residency to immigrants. “The administration’s final ‘public charge’ rule will inflict severe and unnecessary hardship on immigrant families. The rule will force hundreds of thousands of immigrants to choose between forgoing basic assistance for food, shelter, and health care, or risk being separated from their families. According to the Urban Institute, one in seven families chose not to receive public benefits in 2018 for fear of risking future green card status.

February 26, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 46, a resolution to terminate President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border: “Today, the House voted to stop President Trump’s unconstitutional abuse of emergency power. There is no sudden emergency at the border. Furthermore, the wall does not address any of the alleged problems outlined by the President. We know the wall would not reduce crime, stop the flow of drugs into the country, nor address the issue of refugees seeking asylum at ports of entry.

February 15, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after President Trump declared a national emergency to build a border wall: “The President failed to convince Congress to fund his expensive, ineffective and diplomatically obnoxious wall. Now he has concocted a faux emergency at the border to fund his border wall that he always promised would be paid for by Mexico. There is no sudden emergency at the border. Furthermore, the wall does not address any of the alleged problems outlined by the President. We know the wall would not reduce crime or stop the flow of drugs into the country.

September 25, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security released a proposed rule to expand grounds for denying legal U.S. residency to immigrants. “The Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ proposal would force hundreds of thousands of immigrants to make the impossible choice between receiving basic assistance for food and shelter and risk being separated from their families.

June 26, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision in Hawaii v. Trump, upholding the President’s Muslim ban: “President Trump promised voters a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ during his campaign. He then enlisted Rudy Giuliani to help disguise a policy borne from religious and racial animus toward Muslims. Giuliani was honest about the strategy: ‘When he first announced it, he said “Muslim ban”…He called me up, he said, “Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.”’ The Administration followed Giuliani’s advice, and unfortunately, the Supreme Court legitimized their scheme in spite of the President’s multiple statements declaring his true intent which was to discriminate against Muslims. This is a dangerous decision that undermines the Constitution and American values.

June 22, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on the Republican Majority’s failure to address the family separation crisis at the border: “President Trump’s reprehensible ‘zero-tolerance’ policy led to thousands of children, including toddlers and infants, being wrenched from the arms of their parents. According to the medical community, such a traumatic event can cause irreparable psychological damage to these innocent children. The Administration then repeatedly lied to the American people about the policy. Making matters worse and even more traumatic, the Administration was so ill-prepared they now cannot guarantee that all these children will ever be reunited with a parent.

September 5, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, released the following statement after Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that President Trump is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “I am deeply disappointed President Trump is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In 2012, we asked undocumented immigrants who were brought here at a young age, through no fault of their own, to step out of the shadows and undergo robust background checks in exchange for work authorization and temporary relief from deportation. We promised them an opportunity to legally contribute to their communities.

August 2, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on President Trump’s new immigration policy announcement: “I am deeply concerned by President Trump’s support for the so-called Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act,” said Rep. Scott. “This legislation seeks to implement immigration policies that are ill-advised and will negatively affect our country’s economy. Immigrants play a vital role in securing our nation’s future economic growth. As the U.S. workforce expands and baby boomers begin to retire, immigrants are a crucial part of filling those vacant jobs.

June 26, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to review President Trump’s travel ban and to allow parts of the executive order to be enforced until the Court makes a final ruling: “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has allowed parts of President Trump’s travel ban to move forward until they issue a final decision. While I am pleased that the Court preserved the ability of travelers from the countries listed in the travel ban to enter the United States if they have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, I remain concerned that the President and his administration will continue to unnecessarily delay the resettlement of refugees fleeing violence.

January 30, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following President Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning entry from 7 Muslim-majority countries, Congressman Bobby Scott joined Democratic Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), and Brad Schneider (D-IL) demanded that the Administration comply with the federal court orders staying the EO and vowed to fight to overturn it.

Safety

Gun Safety

Congressman Scott is a vice-chair of the House Democratic Caucus Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which was convened by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in response to the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. The purpose of the Task Force is to find comprehensive, commonsense solutions to the problem of gun violence in America that also respect law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

The Task Force solicited the input and testimony of victims of gun violence and gun safety advocates; gun owners, hunters, and outdoor sportsmen; federal, state, and local law enforcement; educators and community workers; mental health experts and physicians; criminology and public health researchers; representatives of the motion picture, television, music, and video game industries; faith community leaders; and representatives of gun manufacturers and retailers. Based upon the feedback of these groups, the Task Force urges Congress to:

  • Support the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
  • Support citizens’ rights to possess firearms for hunting, shooting sports, defense, and other lawful and legitimate purposes.
  • Reinstate and strengthen a prospective federal ban on assault weapons.
  • Reinstate a prospective federal ban on assault magazines.
  • Strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database.
  • Prosecute those prohibited buyers who attempt to purchase firearms and others who violate federal firearm laws.
  • Pass legislation aimed specifically at cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and straw-purchasing.
  • Restore funding for public safety and law enforcement initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence.
  • Support initiatives that prevent problems before they start, especially by enacting comprehensive, violence prevention and intervention legislation like the Youth PROMISE Act.
  • Close the holes in our mental-health system and make sure that care is available for those who need it.
  • Help our communities get unwanted and illegal guns out of the hands of those who don’t want them or shouldn’t have them.
  • Support responsible gun ownership.
  • Take steps to enhance school safety through evidence-based strategies and positive behavioral interventions.
  • Address our culture’s glorification of violence seen and heard though our movie screens, television shows, music and video games.

July 30, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host a town hall meeting in Chesapeake, Virginia. This town hall will be an opportunity for constituents to learn more about the Representatives’ efforts to protect access to affordable health care, as well as hear more about the critical legislation House Democrats have passed in the first 200 days of the new Congress. This will be an opportunity for residents of the 3rd and 4th congressional districts to provide comments and ask questions.

July 9, 2019 Page

ON MONDAY, July 8th, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) hosted a roundtable to discuss the epidemic of gun violence. Mass shootings have taken place in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Buckroe Beach this summer. Congressman Scott convened elected officials, gun violence experts, and other community stakeholders. This roundtable was in advance of the special session of the General Assembly that Governor Northam has called to discuss evidence-based solutions to stemming gun violence. The roundtable explored what experts have recommended, what the U.S.

July 3, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – ON MONDAY, July 8th, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) will host a roundtable to discuss the epidemic of gun violence. Mass shootings have taken place in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Buckroe Beach this summer. Congressman Scott will confer with elected officials, gun violence experts, and other community stakeholders.

May 31, 2019 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement: “My thoughts are foremost with those affected-the victims, their families, and survivors as Virginia Beach and the entire Commonwealth is left devastated by another mass shooting. Gun violence should not be a normal occurrence in our communities. The President and Congress have a basic responsibility to keep Americans safe, and elected officials are not powerless to stop this. My colleagues and I have to do more to keep our communities safe.”

February 27, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), a Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019: “For far too long Congress has sat idly by as countless Americans have lost their lives to senseless gun violence. That ended today with the House passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. Requiring background checks for all firearm purchases and closing the gun show loophole both have large public support, and they are an important first step in making our communities safer. Today’s vote reflects our commitment to addressing the gun violence epidemic in our country. It is now up to the Senate to follow our lead and pass this long overdue bill.”

February 14, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on the anniversary of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “One year ago, 17 students and educators lost their lives in the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. For many of us, that day will always be remembered for the mixture of shock, frustration, and profound grief we felt as we witnessed another mass shooting at an American school. Today, we join together as one nation to honor the memories of the people we lost, comfort the families and friends they left behind, and reflect on our responsibility to prevent this from happening again.”

December 18, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the release of the Trump administration’s school safety commission report. “The Federal School Safety Commission Report is not a serious or good-faith effort to make schools safer for students and educators. The report’s recommendations ignore both the research consensus and the demands of students and parents for tougher gun laws. Instead, the report promotes a longstanding, conservative agenda to undermine policies that protect students’ civil rights.

May 21, 2018 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for allowing me to speak on this very important issue, and I thank her for leading this Special Order on this important topic, which is gun safety, especially as it relates to school safety. Keeping all students and educators safe is a top priority. On Friday, we had another tragedy. A small town that few could point out on a map is now infamous. Santa Fe High School, near Galveston, Texas, experienced a mass shooting, leaving 10 dead: Eight students, two teachers. Several students said to the media, they knew this would eventually happen to them. Our thoughts and prayers are with those students and with the families suffering from acts of gun violence, but enough is enough.

May 15, 2018 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5242. This legislation under consideration today will improve our understanding about the role of school resource officers. But we must acknowledge that this bill barely scratches the surface of what is actually required to keep our schools safe, and I urge this body to do more. In the wake of February’s tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, many have called for a so-called Federal focus on hardening of our schools, which includes increasing Federal dollars to hire more police officers and embracing the most harsh punishments for school discipline, and even allowing school teachers to carry firearms, despite the overwhelming evidence that many of these initiatives do more harm than good.

Social Security

Social Security

Social Security is one of the most successful and important government programs ever enacted. For well over 75 years, Social Security has been giving seniors and their families peace of mind and economic stability. Congressman Scott is adamantly opposed to cutting Social Security to balance the budget or offset the cost of tax cuts. Congressman Scott knows that Social Security does not add a single penny to our nation’s budget deficit and believes that any discussion to reform Social Security should be for the benefit of Social Security alone, not to offset the costs of unaffordable tax cuts or to reduce the budget deficit. In Congress, Congressman Scott has opposed efforts to change the cost-of-living-adjustment formula from the current formula to a “chained-CPI” formula. Congressman Scott has also cosponsored legislation that would phase out the Social Security payroll tax cap, currently at $113,000 for 2013, to ensure that wealthy Americans contribute more to the program to extend its solvency. More importantly, Congressman Scott supports legislation that would improve Social Security benefits by using a cost-of-living-adjustment formula that actually keeps pace with the costs of consumer goods that seniors use more regularly than other Americans – the cost of health care. 

Important Social Security Information

October 20, 2016 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On October 18, 2016, the Social Security Administration announced that Social Security beneficiaries would only receive a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2017. Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), a member of the House Democratic Caucus’ Seniors Task Force, issued the following statement on the Social Security Administration’s announcement of the 2017 COLA: “This week’s announcement by the Social Security Administration of a paltry 0.3 percent COLA for our seniors confirms yet again that Congress must act to reform the COLA formula so that future COLAs better account for price increases in consumer goods more utilized by our seniors.

October 19, 2011 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Today, the Social Security Administration announced a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) of 3.6% for Social Security beneficiaries in 2012. This is the first increase for beneficiaries …

Veterans

Veterans

March 5, 2019 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of my friend and colleague, Walter Beaman Jones, Jr., who passed away on February 10, 2019 at the age of 76. His passing is a deep loss to this institution, and we miss him dearly in the House of Representatives. Walter was proud to represent North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district, a geographically diverse district, for over 24 years and always found a way to address the concerns of his coastal constituency as well as his rural inland residents.

May 16, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after voting against S. 2372, the VA MISSION Act of 2018: “The VA MISSION Act includes several provisions that I have long supported, including expanding caregiver benefits to pre-9/11 veterans and authorizing additional funding for the Veterans Choice Program. Unfortunately, I ultimately voted against this bill because it seriously jeopardizes future funding for the Choice Program and gives the Trump Administration new authority to privatize key VA healthcare services and programs.

April 25, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) invited Robert “Jack” Ewald of Suffolk, Virginia as their guest to attend the address delivered by French President Emmanuel Macron to a Joint Meeting of Congress. Mr. Ewald, a World War II veteran, fought in the Army’s 115th Infantry Division at Normandy on D-Day. President Macron highlighted Mr. Ewald’s story in his remarks. “It is my great honor to have Jack Ewald as our guest at today’s historic address by President Macron,” said Congressman Bobby Scott. “Jack’s incredible life story embodies the very best of our country. I am very pleased that more people were able to learn more about his service and sacrifice that helped free Europe from tyranny, and we are so thankful for his continued service to our community.”

August 17, 2017 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, issued the following statement on President Trump’s signing of H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever” G.I. Bill, into law yesterday. The legislation makes improvements to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, which was originally sponsored by former Senator Jim Webb and Congressman Scott and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008. The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill provides our men and women in uniform the full cost of a four year public college or university and housing benefits while enrolled in school. Congressman Scott was an original cosponsor of the “Forever” G.I. Bill.

July 26, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement on his personal twitter account that transgender individuals will no longer be permitted to serve in any capacity in the United States Armed Forces. “This morning, the country woke up to the news that President Trump unilaterally plans to bar the service of transgender persons in our nation’s military. This announcement places the estimated 15,000 transgender Americans who are currently serving our country at risk of being discharged. President Trump’s action undermines morale and further devalues the service and sacrifice of the more than 130,000 transgender veterans alive today.

June 13, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on his No vote on S. 1094, the V.A. Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act: “I strongly support accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs and believe Congress must do more to ensure that our veterans receive the best care possible. “I strongly support accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs and believe Congress must do more to ensure that our veterans receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, similar to the many attempts before it, the V.A. Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act unfairly penalizes V.A. employees in a misguided attempt to reform the V.A.

May 29, 2017 Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement in observance of Memorial Day: “Today, we honor all the fallen men and women who have worn the uniforms of the Armed Services of the United States, and we rededicate ourselves to promoting peace so that their sacrifices will not have been in vain. So, on this Memorial Day, as you gather with family and friends to kick off the beginning of summer, take a moment to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the freedoms we hold so dear.”

November 30, 2016 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 1555, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015. Filipino Americans have contributed to American life and culture in countless ways, and one of the most noble is through military service. Over 200,000 Filipino soldiers and guerrilla fighters served with the United States Armed Forces during World War II. Their invaluable service helped provide the necessary support to defeat the Japanese in the Pacific.

September 14, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement on his No vote on H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016: “Once again, Republicans have put forward a bill that fails to address the systemic issues the VA is facing, such as the disability appeals claim backlog and doctor, specialist, and nurse staffing shortages. Instead, this bill makes it easier to fire rank-and-file VA employees, who under current law can already be fired for cause. Due process protections for civil service employees began well over a century ago to protect employees from arbitrary and political firings.

December 10, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today joined the House of Representatives in passing bipartisan legislation that honors the late Phyllis Galanti’s service to America’s military men and women and their families by naming the outdoor arboretum at Richmond’s McGuire VA Medical Center The Phyllis Galanti Memorial Arboretum. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Mark R. Warner, Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and John McCain (R-AZ) in the Senate, along with Reps. Dave Brat (R-VA-7), Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) and Sam Johnson (R-TX-3) in the House, now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Faith-Based Initiative

Religious organizations have long  been recepients of federal funds.  However, since the advent of the Faith-Based Initiative, the responsibilities of faith-based organizations to adhere to basic civil rights policies has been eroded.  The Faith-Based Initiative has allowed organizations to cirumvent existing law and discriminate in their hiring practices, on the basis of religion.  Congressman Scott believes that this is a dangerous precedent.  He believes that the policy of no discrimination in federal programs is a fundamental element of our civil rights strategy – if we fail to enforce civil rights in federal programs, we lose our moral authority to impose those laws on private employers who may be devoutly religious. With the troublesome Bush policies still intact, employment discrimination will continue. Because religious discrimination is explicitly allowed under the Faith-Based Initiative, there are other implications for discrimination that also take place under the guise of religious discrimination. Many churches and faith-based institutions are ethnically and racially homogeneous. Where religious discrimination is allowed, it is difficult to ensure that racial discrimination is not also occurring. In addition, religious discrimination can also lead to discrimination based on sex.

 

 

 

 

History of the Faith-Based Initiative

In August of 1963, thousands of people gathered to march on Washington to urge the adoption of federal civil rights protections. Among their demands were an end to discrimination in the workplace and that federal funds be withheld from any agency which practices discrimination with those funds. The march laid the groundwork for monumental civil rights legislation, such as the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

When Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed the following year, it became the most comprehensive legislation to achieve equal rights and protect citizens from discrimination.Section 703 (a) of the Act made it unlawful for an employer to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Title VII however, makes exemptions for church groups and faith-based organizations, allowing them to discriminate in hiring practices in order to maintain their organization’s integrity. This had traditionally referred to the actions of the organization while using its own money.

Both before and after the Civil Rights Act, Presidents throughout the past 60 years have used Executive Orders to strengthen federal anti-discrimination policy. On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt signed an Executive Order that banned discrimination by defense contractors based on race, religion, color or national origin. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802 was the first to prohibit employment discrimination and marked the beginning of fair employment practices in the United States. These protections against employment discrimination were expanded by subsequent Presidents. Executive Order 11246, signed by President Johnson in 1965, expanded the prohibitions against employment discrimination to all government contractors, not just defense contractors. Every President of the United States since 1965 has enforced these Executive Orders. Over time, various civil rights laws were passed that contained similar prohibitions against discrimination and employment based on race, religion, color, national origin or sex. None of these Executive Orders affected the religious exemption set forth in Title VII, but they drew the separation between Church and State so that federal taxpayer money was not used to fund religious activity and discrimination based on religion was not permitted while using taxpayer dollars.

In the 1990s, then-Senator John Ashcroft created the concept known as ‘Charitable Choice’ during the drafting of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The concept altered existing law to permit taxpayer-financed social service funding of houses of worship in a few welfare programs.

This approach represented a radical change. In the past, government sometimes contracted with organizations such as Catholic Charities or United Jewish Communities to provide services, but safeguards were kept in place to protect the integrity of the groups and the interests of taxpayers. Houses of worship did not contract directly with the government; rather, religious institutions created separate entities (usually 501(c)(3)s) to handle public funds and did not incorporate religion into the publicly funded program. Further, Johnson’s Executive Order had maintained safeguards against employment discrimination in these programs receiving taxpayer dollars.

President Clinton signed these Charitable Choice provisions into law but issued signing statements indicating that his Administration would not “permit governmental funding of religious organizations that do not or cannot separate their religious activities from [federally-funded program] activities” because such funding would violate the Constitution. In short, the Clinton Administration interpreted the provisions as being constrained by the constitutional mandates that prohibit the direct funding of houses of worship and government-funded employment discrimination. No federal money went to organizations that were pervasively sectarian, no money went to any organization with the Title VII exemption, and therefore no one could exercise discrimination using these funds while Clinton was President.

Under the Bush Administration, Charitable Choice was vastly expanded through a series of Executive Orders. In 2001, Executive Orders 13198 and 13199 created and set out organizational guidelines for a White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives.Executive Orders 13280 (2002), 13342 (2004), and 13397 (2006) mandated that the departments of Justice, Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Commerce, Veteran Affairs, and Homeland Security, the Agency for International Development and the Small Business Administration all establish a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In 2002, the most controversial Executive Order was issued – Executive Order 13279 – which made it easier for churches and other faith-based organizations to receive federal money by letting them circumvent certain anti-discrimination laws. Under the umbrella of the Faith-Based Initiative, the Bush administration began allowing discrimination with federal money for the first time since the 1960s.

For decades, religious organizations have been providing social services, including in some cases with the use of government funds, without the Faith-Based Initiative. The fundamental differences between the Faith-Based Initiative and the long-standing legal provisions regarding faith-based organizations’ participation are: (1) allowing proselytization during a secular, government-funded program; and (2) permitting employment discrimination with federal funds. Any program that could be federally funded under the Faith-Based Initiative could have been funded before it if the sponsoring organization agreed not to discriminate in employment and not to proselytize. Moreover, no religious organization has stated to Congress that it needs to be able to proselytize or discriminate in order to run a successful program. There has been a general consensus that proselytization with federal funds violates the First Amendment to the Constitution, but the issue of whether discrimination with federal funds should be permitted remains hotly debated.

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama said that he would not allow discrimination with federal money, unlike the Bush Administration. However, on February 5th 2009, when the Obama Administration unveiled its new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, reversals of Bush’s controversial policies were notably absent. Joshua DuBois, who was originally appointed to lead the Office, stated that claims of discrimination would be investigated “on a case-by-case basis.”  Since then, no other action has been taken to address this issue. 

Press on the Faith-Based Initiative 

 Letters

Testimony

Administration Officials’ Responses 

  • Attorney General Eric Holder, Before the House Judiciary Committee [June 7, 2014] –VIDEO (1:11:20)
  • Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Justice Department Thomas Perez, Before the House Judiciary Committee [July 26, 2012] – VIDEO (44:06)
  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Before the House Education and the Workforce Committee [March 28, 2012] – VIDEO (2:13:00)
  • Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Justice Department Thomas Perez, Before the House Judiciary Committee [June 1, 2011] – TRANSCRIPT  (pp. 47-49)
  •  Secretary of Health and Human Servies Kathleen Sebelius, Before the House Education and the Workforce Committee [May 5, 2011] – VIDEO (1:46:00)
  • Attorney General Eric Holder, Before the House Judiciary Committee [May 3, 2011] – VIDEO (00:58:18)
  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Before the House Education and the Workforce Committee [March 9, 2011] – VIDEO (02:17:22)
  • Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Justice Department Thomas Perez, Before the House Judiciary Committee [December 3, 2009] – TRANSCRIPT 

MORE ON FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE

June 4, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission: “The Supreme Court’s narrow ruling did not address the core question of whether or not the couple was discriminated against based on sexual orientation. By avoiding the heart of the matter, the Court is allowing a dangerous level of uncertainty to continue to persist. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed to protect people from illegal discrimination from businesses that open their doors to the public.

July 13, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the support of leaders from the civil rights, social justice and faith communities, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) and Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, today reintroduced legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The Do No Harm Act would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights. It comes in response to continued efforts across the country to cite religious belief as grounds to undermine Civil Rights Act protections, limit access to healthcare, and refuse service to minority populations.

June 15, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) received the National Visibility Award from the Secular Coalition of America in recognition of his leadership in protecting the First Amendment, religious liberty, and separation of church and state. “I am honored to receive the National Visibility Award from the Secular Coalition of America,” said Rep. Scott. “As a defender of the Constitution’s First Amendment and an Episcopalian, I can attest to the power of working with people of many faiths and secularists who understand how reason, critical thinking, and empathy has helped our nation face its adversities and achieve great things.

June 12, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott issued the following statement to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Loving v. Virginia: “In 1959, Mildred and Richard Loving were charged with violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. This injustice launched a courageous legal challenge that culminated in the Supreme Court ruling on this day, 50 years ago, that the United States would no longer allow race-based restrictions on the right to marry. The Loving Court unanimously stated that marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ confirming that America is a place of equality and freedom.

February 23, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN) issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to follow-up on a request to instruct the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to review and reconsider an opinion issued on June 29, 2007. The opinion has been interpreted to permit federally funded faith-based organizations to use the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to override statutory employment nondiscrimination laws.

May 17, 2013 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Today, Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) questioned Attorney General Eric Holder during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Department of Justice. …

February 14, 2013 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Today, the House of Representatives considered and passed H.R. 592, the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013. Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA)…

February 13, 2013 Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia: Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 592, the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013, which would add ”houses of worship” to the list of eligible en…

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Bobby Scott Speech on the Need for Criminal Justice Reform
Published on February 18, 2014

On February 11, 2014, U.S. Representative Bobby Scott, D. Va., gave a short speech to advocates attending a Washington, D.C. conference on the need to address our mass incarceration and reform the U.S. criminal justice system. The event was cosponsored by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Vera Institute of Justice, and was held at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Gerwirz Student Center.

VA 3rd Congressional District Town Hall 02122018
Published on February 19, 2018

U. S. Representative Robert “Bobby” Scott presents highlights of the 2017 federal tax legislation and responds to citizen questions and comments at I. C. Norcom High School, Portsmouth, VA.

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