Tell Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand: Block Boehner’s $300 million pet project
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As John Boehner leads Republicans in slashing funding for the Clean Air Act, Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting and other vital programs, only one bill is so important to the Speaker that he attached his own name to it and pushed it through the House.
Speaker Boehner’s pet project? More than $300 million spent on just 1,700 private school students enrolled in the District of Columbia’s decaying voucher program.
While our legislators are engaged in critical debates on fixing our economy and getting Americans back to work, it’s outrageous that Speaker Boehner’s top priority is subsidizing a handful of private schools in Washington, D.C. – wasting critical dollars that could go towards our public schools. And because most of the private schools that would benefit are religious, this is also a clear back door attempt to publicly finance faith-based education.
Boehner’s initiative has been tried before – and failed. Washington, D.C.’s voucher program is currently in the process of being phased out, after a three-year analysis released in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Education found the program to be ineffective.
Yet it’s incredibly clear why Republicans would rally around this expensive and failed voucher program. Americans need to look no further than the outrageous rightwing attacks on public education, like Governor Scott Walker’s brutal assault on Wisconsin teachers, to understand how Republicans really feel about public schools.
But attacking public education is not the sole objective of Boehner’s legislation. As someone who benefited personally from private Catholic schooling, he’s committed to making this voucher program work in Washington, D.C. – no matter the cost.
Republican Rep. John Kline of Minnesota went so far as to issue a warning to President Obama and Democrats who would oppose this outrageous abuse of funds, saying “This is very, very important to him [Boehner], so the White House would be wise to take that under consideration.”1
Boehner’s incredibly expensive pet project is bad for taxpayers and bad for students. We can’t let him get away with this.
Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Campaign Manager
1. “House Speaker Boehner promotes funding for D.C. school choice program,” Ben Pershing and Paul Kane, Washington Post, 03-15-2011.