Amending the Bill on Tax-Free Savings Accounts

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Below are the votes on the major amendments to a bill intended to create tax incentives to save for K-12 education costs in private and public schools.


Block grants: States could choose one of three options to receive federal K-12 aid: through Title I and other categorical grant programs, as they now do; through state block grants; or through block grants targeted specifically for school districts. Special education dollars would be exempt from the changes.

  • Sponsor: Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash.
  • Vote: 50-49.

National testing: The amendment would forbid the development of proposed new national tests past Sept. 30 without the explicit authorization of Congress.

  • Sponsor: Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo.
  • Vote: 52-47.

Merit pay: States with teacher-competency testing would receive half of future funding increases in the federal professional-development program to pay for teacher merit-pay programs. The program's fiscal 1998 funding was $335 million.

  • Sponsors: Sens. Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y., and Connie Mack, R-Fla.
  • Vote: 63-35.

Single-sex classrooms: States would be allowed to use grants from the federal Title VI program to create classrooms segregated by gender.

  • Sponsor: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
  • Vote: 69-29.


100,000 new teachers: The amendment would have recruited new teachers by promising to forgive their student loans.

  • Sponsor: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
  • Vote: 56-41.

School construction: The federal government would have underwritten $3.3 billion in interest on school bonds over the next two years in a bill that would have replaced the Republican package of tax incentives for education savings.

  • Sponsor: Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill.
  • Vote: 56-42.

Restricted tax incentive: The amendment would have restricted spending from the tax-sheltered education savings accounts to higher education expenses.

  • Sponsor: Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio.
  • Vote: 60-38.

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