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«Will Hurd (TX-23) Research Report The following report contains research on Will Hurd, a Republican member of Congress in Texas’ 23rd district. ...»

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Voted Against Eliminating $500 Million In New Funding For The Maritime Security Program. In October 2015, Hurd voted against an amendment to strip $500 million in new funding for the Maritime Security Program. According to Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, “This amendment would harm America's national security. Under the program that it seeks to eliminate, the Pentagon reserves capacity on roughly 60 U.S.-flagged commercial ships to ensure the supply and transport of American troops. It is a program that supports our private sector as well, requiring the Defense Department to contract private commercial ships rather than building their own. So there was not redundancy, but complementary ability. It is a program that enhances America's national security by ensuring that our military can depend on U.S.flagged and crewed vessels instead of foreign ones. It is a program that supports important domestic maritime jobs.” The amendment failed 109 to 306. [HR 702, Vote #545, 10/09/15; Amash Amendment, 10/09/15] Voted For FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, Which Lifted Sequester Caps On Defense Spending For Two Years Voted For FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, Which Lifted Sequester Caps On Defense Spending For Two Years. In November 2015, Hurd voted for suspending the rules and passing the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill provided that, “the annual [defense] spending caps will be lifted for another two years, the 10-year spending caps created under the Budget Control Act of 2011 remain in place.” The bill passed 370-58. [S 1356, Vote #618, 11/05/15; Vice News, 10/29/15] FY 2016 NDAA Included $715 Million For Iraqi Forces Fighting ISIS. “Fiscal 2016 Defense Authorization — Passage…It also would authorize $715 million for security assistance to Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” [CQ, accessed 1/07/16] FY 2016 NDAA Included $599 Billion In Discretionary Funding For Defense Programs. “Fiscal 2016 Defense Authorization — Passage… the bill that, as amended, would authorize $599 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs in fiscal 2016.” [CQ, accessed 1/07/16] FY 2016 NDAA Included Provisions Restricting The Ability Of The President To Transfer Prisoners From Guantanamo Bay Detention Center To Third Party Countries. “Fiscal 2016 Defense Authorization — Passage… The measure would place new restrictions on the ability of the president to transfer prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center to third-party countries.” [CQ, accessed 1/07/16] District Activities

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 Two local reporters commented on air about Hurd’s office’s failure to respond to media requests on the issue of birthright tourism Two Reporters Commented On Air That Hurd’s Office Had Failed To Reply To Repeated Requests For A Response To An El Paso Birthright Tourism Firm Profiting From Birthright Citizenship Hurd’s Office Did Not Offer Any Comment To Repeated Inquiries As To His Thoughts On Birthright Tourism. On September 15, 2015 KVIA’s Rick Cabrera presented a story on an El Paso company facilitating birthright tourism. While Rep. Beto O’Rourke spoke directly to the station, Hurd’s office’s only response to multiple entreaties was to tell KVIA to send questions, which they did, and received no response in return. CABRERA: Women come from all over the world to have their babies in the US so their child will have US citizenship and there are companies who with this process that’s terms as birthright tourism. There’s a company right here in El Paso with a website Doctores para Ti that helps with the process. It's perfectly legal based on the 14th amendment. We recently asked El Paso congressman Beto O'Rourke how he feels about the idea of birthright tourism…Over the last three weeks we have reached out to Congressman Will Hurd’s office numerous times both by phone and email but did not get a single response. Yesterday we tried again and this time we were told the Congressman was unavailable but to send questions. We did not get a response. [KVIA, 9/15/15] Hurd’s Office Did Not Offer Any Comment To The Station’s Office For Their Follow-Up Report The Next Day. On September 16, 2015 KVIA’s Denise Olivas presented a follow-up broadcast on the issue of birthright tourism but Hurd’s office still offered no response. OLIVAS: A report on women coming from all over the world to have their babies in El Paso this is their child, this is so their child can legally have USA citizenship. We asked our passes congressman Beto O'Rourke how he feels about the idea of birthright tourism…We also reached out to Congressman Will Hurd’s office but we did not get a response. [KVIA, 9/16/15] Education Issues

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 Called for cutting 16 percent across the board from the federal budget, which would lead to Texas losing $1.8 billion in education funding  Voted for FY 16 Republican Budget that would slash funding for Pell Grants and then lamented discussion of eliminating them the next month  Voted against an amendment providing for school dropout prevention programs and grants for raising academic achievement levels Hurd called for federal budget “cut of 16 percent across the board” in 2014, which would have resulted in huge cuts to education overall, including Texas losing $1.8 billion in funding for primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. In March 2015, Hurd voted for the FY 16 Republican Budget that would slash funding for Pell Grants but went on to publicly lament proposals to eliminate them the next month.

Hurd also voted against an amendment providing for school dropout prevention programs and grants for raising academic achievement levels.

Called For “Cuts Of 16 Percent Across The Board” To Federal Budget, Including Education Cuts Endorsed Drastic “Cuts of 16 Percent Across the Board” To The Federal Budget. “At a Tea Party Forum during the campaign, Hurd said that, ‘Congress needs to cap federal spending to a percentage of GDP- 18% is a good number because that was the number when the budget was last balanced. That would translate to cuts of 16% across the board.’” [Burnt Orange Report, 7/10/14] Note: The Burnt Orange Report cites as its source a Tea Party blog which had video for the event and an accompanying article. Both are no longer accessible but the DCCC has a copy of the article’s text.

Nearly Identical Plan Would Result in “Huge Cuts” to Education. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the CAP Act, a proposal to limit federal spending to no more than 20.6 percent of GDP – a higher spending cap than Hurd suggested – would result in “huge cuts to the social safety net for seniors, children, and the disabled, as well as to public investments such as education and infrastructure.” [CBPP, 4/15/11] Texas Would Lose $1.8 Billion Of Education Funding If Hurd’s Proposed Cut Was Made. In 2013, the Department of Education provided $11.3 billion in funds to Texas. These funds included $2.3 billion in Pell Grants, $1 billion in special education grants, and $1.4 billion in Title I grants.

Sixteen percent of 11.3 billion is 1.8 billion[Department of Education, 2013 Budget History, accessed 7/09/14] March 2015: Voted For FY16 Republican Budget That Would Slash Funding For Pell Grants Voted For FY16 Republican Budget That Would Slash Funding For Pell Grants. In March 2015, Hurd voted for the FY16 Republican House budget that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, slash Pell grants and alter Medicare. “It also includes parliamentary language, called reconciliation that orders House committees to draft legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act. Under budget rules, that reconciliation repeal bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate and would need only a majority vote to pass.

The budget would turn Medicaid into block grants to the states, cutting health care spending for the poor by $900 billion. The food stamp program would also be turned into block grants and cut by hundreds of billions of dollars. Special education, Pell Grants, job training and housing assistance would all be cut.

Medicare would transition to a system where future seniors would be encouraged to use governmentfunded vouchers to purchase insurance in the private market.” The resolution passed 228 to 199. [H. Con Res. 27, Vote #142, 3/25/15; New York Times, 3/25/15] House Republican Budget Would Cut Pell Grants, Individuals in TX-23 Received Over $28 Million In Pell Grants in FY 2015. According to New York Times the Republican Budget would “cut the size of Pell Grants, the popular federal financial aid program for higher education.” According to USASpending.gov, Texas’ Twenty Third District received over $28 million in Pell grant funding in FY2015. [New York Times, 3/17/15; usaspending.gov, accessed 3/17/15] House GOP Budget Caps Pell Grants For Ten Years As Tuition & Other Costs Increase. “The booklet also makes clear that the plan contains big cuts in Pell Grants, which help children from families with modest incomes afford college. Although Pell Grants already cover a much lower share of college costs than they used to, the plan would freeze the maximum grant level for ten years even as tuition and room and board costs continued to rise, and then cut Pell Grants in other ways as well.” [CBPP, 3/17/15] House Republican Budget Would Make It So 2,630 Fewer Texas Children Have Access To Head Start. The House Republican budget proposal, which maintains sequestration levels for domestic discretionary spending, would make it so 2,630 fewer Texas children have access to Head Start services. [White House, 3/24/15]

April 2015: Lamented Proposals To Get Rid Of Pell Grants

April 2015: Lamented Proposals To Get Rid Of Pell Grants. “For example, when Hurd mentions that the U.S. government needlessly spends $80 billion a year on Information Technology procurement, he adds, ‘So we’re talking about getting rid of Pell Grants, and not helping poor kids go to college, but we’re wasting billions of dollars on this? It’s outrageous to me.’” [San Antonio Express-News, 3/17/15] Voted Against Amendment Providing School Dropout Prevention And Grants For Raising Academic Achievement Levels Voted Against Amendment Providing School Dropout Prevention And Grants For Raising Academic Achievement Levels. In July 2015, Hurd voted against providing dropout protection and grants to raise academic achievement. “The U.S. House of Representative reconsidered and ultimately passed Wednesday a Republican-backed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—though it’s far from the measure that President Barack Obama may eventually sign into law when it’s all said and done …Rep. Wilson: Would provide for school dropout prevention and reentry and provide grants to raise academic achievement levels for all students.” The amendment failed, 192 to 237.

[HR 5, Vote #413, 7/07/15; Education Week, 7/08/15] Supported Texas A&M Tuition Increase To Provide Faculty Raises As An Undergraduate Supported Texas A&M Tuition Increase. In January 2000, Hurd supported a $2 per credit hour increase in Texas A&M tuition to help provide salary increases for faculty. “Any time you look at an increase like this, people question whether or not it is really needed,” Hurd said. “But I think when people realize how important this increase is to raising our faculty’s pay to a level that is competitive with other national universities, they will be behind it 100 percent.” [University Wire, 1/25/00] Voted For Student Success Act To Renew And Overhaul No Child Left Behind, Allowing Funding To Follow Lower-Income Students To Other Schools And Distribute Block Grants To States Voted For Student Success Act To Renew And Overhaul No Child Left Behind. In July 2015, Hurd voted for the Student Success Act, a bill to “renew and overhaul the 2001 landmark elementary and secondary education law (PL 107-110) known as ‘No Child Left Behind.’” The bill passed, 218 to 213.

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