If President Clinton vetoes GOP tax-cut legislation this month--or possibly this week--as expected, he will no doubt please some of his education constituents.
A number of prominent education groups--including the teachers' unions, the National PTA, and the National School Boards Association--sent a letter to the president last month supporting the veto threat. The groups argued that a controversial education provision in the measure would "divert scarce resources away from public education."
In early August, the House and the Senate voted largely along party lines to approve the tax bill, which would provide nearly $800 billion in tax relief over 10 years. The House vote was 221-206; in the Senate, it was 50-49.
To the chagrin of the teachers' unions and others, a House provision included in the final compromise would also expand current tax incentives for education. Parents already can set aside up to $500 annually in tax-free accounts for higher education expenses. The Republican bill would increase the limit to $2,000 and allow the money also to be designated for K-12 costs--such as tuition, tutoring, and books--in private and public schools.
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is typically labeled mean-spirited by Democrats for his conservative stands on budget and social policies.
Now, Mr. DeLay is working to rebut that image. Specifically, he wants to reform foster-care and adoption laws to cut red tape that he says prevents abused children from being placed in stable homes. The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on legislation to strengthen child-abuse laws this week.
Over the summer, Mr. DeLay's press office worked to publicize his efforts. And Mr. DeLay--a foster parent himself--spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, where he said that Republicans can be the party of compassion.
"Child welfare has been a one-party issue for too long," he told the Heritage group. "There's been a false stereotyping of conservatives as disinterested."
--Erik W. Robelen & Joetta L. Sack
Vol. 19, Issue 2, Page 22Published in Print: September 15, 1999, as Federal File