Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Roundup

Here are some of the important developments that came out of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office last week.


Funding will be used for 2.6 mile road in Tarrant County

Washington, DC – (May 15, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today announced that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will receive a $1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration for the construction of a 2.6 mile project in Tarrant County.

The project will consist of a six-lane road from State Highway 114 to Dove Road and a four-lane road from Dove Road to Randol Mill Road.  The funding was allocated by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the economic recovery package that Congress passed and President Obama signed in February.  Congresswoman Johnson was the only Member of Congress from North Texas to vote for ARRA.

“This project will incorporate cutting-edge transportation technology that will yield a stronger and safer road, which thousands of North Texans rely on for travel each day,” Congresswoman Johnson said.  “I am delighted to see our state’s share of economic recovery funding utilized to bolster our region’s infrastructure and put people to work at such an expeditious rate.  I commend Secretary LaHood and his team for the outstanding job they are doing in getting funds out the door and allocated quickly.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin in fall of 2009.


21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act passes House 275-155

Washington, DC – (May 14, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today voted for H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act.  H.R. 2187 authorizes $6.4 billion for fiscal year 2010 for the modernization, renovation and repair of school facilities, guaranteeing each district a minimum of $5,000.  The legislation passed the House by a vote of 275-155.

“Students can’t reach their full potential in inadequate school facilities,” Congresswoman Johnson said.  “Simple factors like lighting, noise and poor air quality can have a serious effect on student learning gains and behavior.  This legislation will make our schools safer, healthier and more conducive to learning for our young people.  It will also make them more energy-efficient, putting people to work in the process.”

School districts located or partially located in the 30th District of Texas will receive the following amounts of funding:

School District Amount
Cedar Hill ISD  $489,000
Dallas ISD      $38,532,000
Desoto ISD      $783,000
Duncanville ISD $1,166,000
Ferris ISD      $154,000
Irving ISD      $4,228,000
Lancaster ISD   $509,000
Mesquite ISD    $3,619,000

Total $49,480,000

The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act will also authorize an additional $600 million over six years for public schools that were damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


Washington, DC – (May 14, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today released the following statement about the status of funding for Dallas Independent School District (ISD) Learning Centers and Magnet Schools:

“I remain greatly concerned about the status of funding for Dallas ISD Learning Centers and Magnet Schools.  Over the past weeks, I’ve been in close contact with the Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Superintendent Michael Hinojosa regarding potential funding cuts within the Magnet Schools and Learning Centers.  In particular, there are outstanding questions as to whether or not the Learning Center programs may gain a waiver from being required to meet comparable funding requirements.

“All Title I schools must meet comparability requirements in order to receive Title I funding.  If Dallas ISD is found to be in violation it could potentially lose Title I funding, which is approximately $105 million.

“The Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency are closely reviewing all of Dallas ISD’s comparability numbers in order to determine what, if any, funding cuts need to be made.  Dallas ISD has been working hard to get TEA all the necessary data, but it is my understanding from TEA and the Department of Education that there is still outstanding data that it needs to review.  The Department of Education will not be able to give a determination until they can review all of this information.

“Based on these circumstances, I have called on Dallas ISD Board of Trustees President Jack Low to delay tonight’s vote on the budgetary measures that will result in funding and staff cuts for the Learning Centers and Magnets.  While I understand the need to plan for next year and reposition staff, I also believe that final determinations from TEA and the Department of Education are integral to this funding decision.  We should not make cuts to these schools and programs until we know what is required under law.  I have been assured that the Department of Education will make a prompt determination once it has the necessary data, so I do not advocate a lengthy delay to this vote.

“It is my hope that the Board of Trustees will take this under advisement, and I will continue to do my part in working with the Department of Education to receive an answer on what funding cuts may be necessary in a timely manner.  I will continue to work with Dallas ISD to get the best possible result for our schools.”


House passes Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights 357-70

Washington, DC – (April 30, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today voted in favor of H.R. 627, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 357-70.

“Credit card companies have been taking advantage of cardholders with misleading and deceptive practices,” Congresswoman Johnson said.  “The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights levels the playing field between credit card issuers and cardholders and brings much-needed oversight to the credit card industry.

“This legislation protects consumers from excessive fees and incomprehensible agreements, and it bans retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing and due date gimmicks,” Congresswoman Johnson continued.  “It also prevents credit card companies from issuing credit cards to minors under the age of 18.  The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights is bipartisan, common-sense legislation that is long overdue.”

The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights:

· Ends unfair, arbitrary interest rate agreements;

· Bans excessive “over-the-limit” fees;

· Ends unfair penalties for cardholders who pay on time;

· Requires fair allocation of consumer payments, preventing the practice of applying payments to lowest interest rate balances first;

· Requires companies to mail billing statements 21 calendar days before the due date, up from the current requirement of 14 days;

· Prevents companies from using misleading terms and damaging consumers’ credit ratings;

· Protects vulnerable consumers from high-fee subprime credit cards;

· Bars issuing credit cards to minors; and

· Requires better data collection from credit card industry

The House of Representatives passed a bill with similar provisions in the 110th Congress by a vote of 312-112.

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