Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Speech in Opposition to Ending Washington DC Vouchers

February 25, 2009

House Chambers, Washington D.C.
February 25, 2009

M. Speaker:

 When it was announced that Randolph Churchill had been hospitalized to remove a benign tumor, a parliamentary wag commented, “What a pity it is to remove the only part of Randolph that isn’t malignant.”

 As I look at this bill, I can only remark what a pity it is to remove the only part of the nation’s education system that actually works.

 Hidden in this mess is a provision that effectively destroys the Washington DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.  For the last five years, these vouchers have provided thousands of low-income children with the means for their parents to make the same choice that our First Family has made for its children.

The Washington Post – hardly a paragon of conservatism – summed it up this way in its editorial today:

“Many of the Democrats have never liked vouchers, and it seems they won't let fairness or the interests of low-income, minority children stand in the way of their politics. But it also seems they're too ashamed -- and with good reason -- to admit to what they're doing.”

 This bill represents the biggest expansion of discretionary spending since the Carter administration.  But it can’t even continue the one successful education program in the entire federal government.