Tags: House | OKs | Anti-choice | Education | Bill

House OKs Anti-choice Education Bill

Wednesday, 23 May 2001 12:00 AM

The 383-45 vote by the House came after the bill's supporters fought back a series of amendments by Republicans trying to add such conservative staples as vouchers to provide school choice. The voucher provisions were originally stripped from the legislation by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans during committee deliberations. Conservatives responded with a last-minute push to add the voucher provisions and, thus, kill the bill that they consider too left-wing.

Taking the chance to claim a rare legislative victory, the top House Democrat, Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, claimed that the amendments - designed to send pupils to good schools instead of failing government schools - were "extreme."

"As part of that debate, Democrats … beat back a number of right-wing amendments that we believe will take money away from failing schools and reduce the commitment of resources schools need to improve themselves," he said. "At the same time, we are trying to build on the good, bipartisan work by bringing up a discharge petition and putting on the floor the bipartisan Johnson-Rangel bill to repair crumbling schools and build more modern schools."

The amendments - sponsored by Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas - would have established a nationwide school choice program, or, alternatively would have allowed local governments to establish pilot voucher programs for failing schools.

"School choice should be at the heart of the debate on education reform," said Armey, who also serves as House majority leader. "It's the least we can do for disadvantaged children seeking a quality education."

But the House tossed the voucher plan in a 273-155 vote and defeated the pilot proposal by a 241 to 186 margin.

President Bush drafted an original education bill that included a voucher program, but a committee pared the language out. Armey failed to add the language in Wednesday's vote.

The Senate is considering its own version of education "reform" that will ultimately be combined with the House bill. The Senate version authorizes even more spending on failing government schools and also excludes Bush's vouchers plan.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The 383-45 vote by the House came after the bill's supporters fought back a series of amendments by Republicans trying to add such conservative staples as vouchers to provide school choice. The voucher provisions were originally stripped from the legislation by a coalition...
House,OKs,Anti-choice,Education,Bill
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2001-00-23
Wednesday, 23 May 2001 12:00 AM
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