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Republicans Succeed in Muddling Efforts of Texas Schools to Receive $830 Million in Federal Support

Washington D.C. Today, U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives during debate of the Continuing Resolution in opposition to the “Perry Bailout Amendment” (Burgess #154).  In 2009, Republican State Leadership denied Texas schools more than $3 billion in federal aid so these federal dollars made not a dime of difference to our Texas schools, but it provided a big federal bailout for Governor Rick Perry. To prevent such budgeting games from reoccurring, the “Save Our Schools” provision was added to the EduJobs bill (H.R. 1586) in August 2010 to ensure that $830 million in new federal funds for Texas schools would actually benefit our Texas schools. All 12 members of the Texas Democratic Delegation – from Chet Edwards to Silvestre Reyes, from Henry Cuellar to Eddie Bernice Johnson – joined in offering the “Save Our Schools” provision, which is now federal law (July 2010 statement of entire Texas Democratic congressional delegation attached).

Though he has called for repeal of last year’s Texas Democratic “Save Our Schools” provision, the Burgess “Perry Bailout Amendment” by its very words repeals nothing. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said today:

“This is the same Governor, who came here on a tour for his book called ‘Fed Up.’  Well, I’m fed up with federal education dollars for our school children being diverted and adding nothing more to help our schools.  He may write about being fed up, but he doesn’t hesitate to come back for second and third helpings of federal monies.   

“There is a clear path for Texas schools to get all of the money that Texas Democratic Congressmembers voted to provide them.  The Governor simply signs a three-page application for the $830 million. He has failed to offer any valid policy reason for failing to do so.

“This amendment does not repeal our Texas Democrats ‘Save Our Schools’ provision.  The amendment is probably meaningless, but might be misconstrued by some judges to prevent Texas from receiving any funds at all.”

The speech as delivered is attached below, or you can view the speech by clicking here.

“When Texas received $3.25 billion of education stimulus funds over the objection of every Texas republican, Governor Perry played a shell game that left Texas schools not a dime better off than if no federal aid had come in the first place.

”That is the only reason that last summer, all 12 democratic Texas members— from Chet Edwards to Silvestre Reyes, from Henry Cuellar to Gene Green—united, joined together in offering our ‘Save Our Schools’ amendment which today is federal law.

”Tonight’s proposal, seeks to nullify it so Governor Perry can reach for another federal bailout, even if it means taking $830 million away from Texas school children.

”Defectively written, this amendment fails to repeal anything. The enforcement funds that it would limit are not in this bill. They are already appropriated. Vote no on a very flawed amendment for a failed purpose. Stop begging Washington for help, Governor. Just sign the application.”

“I enter into the record the record of organizations all over the state of Texas and the statements of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation last year and this year.

”Governor Perry may have come up here on the book tour for his book ‘Fed Up’ but he’s not afraid to ask for second and third helpings of federal aid even though it takes it away from our school children.

”There is a clear path to get this money. All the governor needs to do is sign a three-page application, like the one he signed to get the 3.25 billion of aid he kept for purposes other than education.

”Though this is presented as an attempt to repeal our amendment, it does not repeal it.  It is a meaningless gesture though it does cloud up the possibility that some federal court may suggest that Texas is not entitled to any money.  Let us not shut the door to opportunity. Reject this amendment.”

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