Washington, D.C. - In a stinging rebuke to Republican leaders, the House on Thursday voted down a bill to cut $1.5 billion from critical education, health care and job training programs.
“The House sent a clear message to the Republican leadership and to President Bush,” Congressman Brad Sherman said. “You’ve gone too far. Your priorities are out of whack. You have lost touch with the American people. It’s time to stop showering the wealthy with tax breaks while shortchanging schools, health clinics and job training programs.”
The 224 to 209 vote against the $142.5 billion spending bill threw a monkey wrench into Republican plans to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy by sharply paring spending. Twenty-two moderate Republicans joined the fully united Democrats in voting against the measure.
Proposing what would have been the first cut in federal school support in a decade, the measure would have chopped $784 million from the No Child Left Behind Act that Bush once ballyhooed. It also provided a scant 1 percent more for special education – a reduction in the federal share of total special education funds.
The same bill would have frozen for a fourth straight year the maximum Pell Grant to college students. “This would have been bad news for California students, who just learned that fees are set to go up 8 percent next year, the fifth straight year of higher college costs,” Sherman said. In all, there are 496,822 student borrowers in California.
With 7.4 million Americans out of work, the legislation would have cut $125 million from a community college program to train 100,000 workers for high-skilled jobs.
“This budget bill was cut with a chainsaw instead of a scalpel,” Sherman said.