Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Passage Of The FUTURE Act

December 5, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor after the United States Senate unanimously passed the FUTURE Act, which would secure critical funding to minority-serving institutions. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

First, let me thank my colleagues, the Senators from South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington State, Alabama, and Delaware for their hard work on this very important issue. I appreciated their words and, far more appreciated even than their eloquent words, is the fact that we’re getting this done finally and I’m so glad for it and I’ll say something about it now.

So let me just add my words of support for the FUTURE Act. A few minutes ago, as I mentioned, we passed the FUTURE Act by unanimous consent. And I am so glad and grateful that the Senate came together today to give these institutions and the students they serve the certainty needed to continue focusing on their important mission. In America, we believe in ladders up. People should have to climb those ladders, no one’s going to put them up on a pedestal, but there should be the ladders there so that if somebody wants to work hard, they’re given fair opportunity and barriers—sometimes barriers based on bigotry and discrimination—do not stand in their way.

One of the best ladders up that we have in America are our HBCUs. HBCUs make up 3% of colleges and universities, but they produce 27% of African-American students with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields, 80% of African-American judges, 40% of African-American engineers, 50% of African-American lawyers, and 40% of African-American colleagues here in the Congress are HBCU graduates. So this is one fine ladder up, as are our other institutions that spend much time helping Hispanic Americans and Native Americans as well. We need these ladders. It’s part of America and we should help them whenever we can. Tribal colleges and universities serving Black, Hispanic, and Native American populations serve more than 130,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives, the most underserved group in higher education. Hispanic-serving institutions have grown by nearly 40% since 2009, helping the Latino community make big inroads in college enrollment and completion. They now enroll 66% of all Hispanic undergraduates but only account for 15% of non-profit colleges.

So all three of these types of institutions, the HBCUS, the colleges and universities serving American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Hispanic-serving institutions are amazing ladders up. Essential to making higher education accessible and affordable and attainable for all Americans. Essential for having that bright sun of the American dream actually shine on people instead of it being some words that are meaningless to them. So this is a very fine moment and I want to thank all of those who put this all together and made it happened. We can celebrate. Most of things that pass by UC around here, or many of them, are really kind of small and narrow. This is not. This is very important and my salute to those who’ve made it happen who I mentioned earlier.