Sen. Ted Cruz Wednesday said it's "shameful" that Democrats pushed for part of a school choice provision he added to the upcoming tax bill concerning deductions to be removed.
"Most of the provision is in there," the Texas Republican told Fox News' "Fox and Friends," explaining that the section expands college 529 savings plans, which allow parents to save money in tax-advantaged accounts for college costs, to be expanded for use for lower school tuitions for up to $10,000 per child per year.
"There was a provision in the bill that also covered the 1.8 million homeschoolers in this country, and Democrats objected to letting homeschoolers' parents spend their own money on providing their schooling," he continued. "I think it was shameful, and it's unfortunate that homeschoolers got cut out by the Democrats."
Cruz said he thinks Democrats objected to the provision because they have an "enormous antipathy" against homeschoolers.
"I think the parliamentarian was wrong," Cruz said of the decision to exclude homeschoolers. "The main argument the staff made against this was 'gosh, 529 plans are really, really popular. People like them a lot and if you extend them to homeschoolers, people are going to be really happy. That's going to make a difference in their lives and the Democrats don't want to see that happen on this bill, so it needs to be cut out.'"
And, he said "unfortunately the parliamentarian bought that pretty bogus argument."
The Senate, just after midnight, passed the bill without the homeschooling provision following a push by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, setting up the bill for another House vote on the updated bill.
"The entire provision, including the homeschooling provision, was scored at $500 million over ten years, which in the scheme of tax reform is a relatively modest cost but the impact is enormous because it's up to parents," said Cruz. "There are 50 million schoolkids in America all across this country and every single school kid potentially benefits."
Cruz said he believes, "undoubtedly," that Democrats opposed the homeschool provision because it goes against teachers' unions, and because Democrats "want control over everything, whether it is control over regulating an industry, control over the internet, or in this instance, control in how you educate your students."
Further, Democrats don't like homeschooling because "they can't mandate what you're teaching them, and they believe in centralized control," said Cruz.
A major complaint from parents whose children are in private schools is that they still pay local taxes for public schools, so the provision will allow them to pay the costs for their children to be in private school, but not incur taxes.
The amendment also will benefit inner city children he said, because many families are struggling economically but still want their children to be in private or parochial schools.
"They're scraping their pennies together to go to parochial schools to try to get a better education to get hope and opportunity," said Cruz. "This now provides a vehicle to make it easier for those parents who are struggling to afford that."
Meanwhile, no Senate Democrats voted for the tax bill, and Cruz said he thinks that 's because they're "listening to their radical left wing base" that hates President Donald Trump "with a white hot passion, and the left base is demanding resist, oppose, filibuster, obstruct, and every Senate Democrat is doing that."
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