Fact-Check: Trump Criticizes N.Y. Democrats On Tuition Aid Votes
President Trump took a swipe at New York Democrats on Twitter for not voting to expand tuition benefits for Gold Star families.
President Donald Trump frequently talks about his support for the military and their families, and he recently criticized New York lawmakers for not doing enough for them.
The president tweeted, "In New York State, Democrats blocked a Bill expanding College Tuition for Gold Star families after approving aid for illegal immigrants."
That tweet is talking about two separate issues. But on both accounts, President Trump's brief description is correct.
First, we'll look at the blocked bill. New York lawmakers considered a bill that would have expanded an existing tuition assistance program for military families. The Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute Scholarship, or MERIT Scholarship, pays tuition and room and board for spouses, children and dependents of service members who are killed or severely and permanently disabled in combat.
The bill's supporters wanted to nix the "in combat" part of the requirements and replace it with "in the line of duty" to make the scholarship available to more families. But Democrats voted to hold the bill in committee, effectively killing it. So President Trump was right to say that Democrats blocked it.
The aid for undocumented immigrants the president referenced in his tweet came through a separate legislative action. New York passed the DREAM Act in January, giving qualified undocumented immigrants access to financial aid and scholarships for college. The state approved $27 million to fully fund that new law. So President Trump was right: New York lawmakers did approve aid for undocumented immigrants.
But his brief mention on Twitter does leave out some context. The two votes weren't connected to each other in any way, and the programs involved offer very different types of tuition assistance. The MERIT scholarship fully covers tuition, up to about $24,000 per year. The DREAM Act gives undocumented immigrants the opportunity to apply for state-funded grants and scholarships, but those don't necessarily cover the full cost of tuition.
It's also worth noting that after the bill failed, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took executive action to expand the MERIT Scholarship to all military families in the state, not just families of those killed or injured in combat zones.
This story is reported in partnership with PolitiFact and is part of an in-depth analysis show called "What The Fact" that airs Sunday mornings on Newsy.
Biden Hosts Macron Amid Friction Over U.S. Climate Law
The French president's visit to the White House on Thursday will conclude with the first state dinner of the Biden administration.By Andrew Harnik / AP
First Lady Jill Biden Unveils 'We The People' White House Christmas
First Lady Jill Biden thanked people from across the country who helped decorate the White House for the holidays.By Andrew Harnik / AP
Pres. Biden Boosts U.S. Effort To Stem Sexual Violence In War Zones
The United Nations has warned sexual violence in Ukraine, especially against women and girls, remains prevalent and underreported.By Alex Brandon / AP
Indonesia's Parliament Votes To Ban Sex Outside Of Marriage
The amended code says sex outside marriage is punishable by a year in jail and cohabitation by six months.By Slamet Riyadi / AP
Man Who Shot Lady Gaga's Dog Walker Sentenced 21 Years In Prison
James Howard Jackson, one of three men and two accomplices involved in the violent robbery, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder.By Saul Loeb / Pool Photo via AP
10 Cars That Last The Longest (And 6 Are Toyotas)
A recent study analyzed more than 2 million cars to find out which may last the longest. Six Toyotas, two Chevys, a GMC and one Honda made the list.By AP