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Republican Senate Tells Schools: Sorry Kids, Tax Cuts are More Important than Your Education

Mar 10 2004

Murray amendment to fully fund No Child Left Behind fails on partisan vote

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today led the fight on the floor of the U.S. Senate to fulfill the federal commitment to students, teachers and schools in Washington state and across the country. Murray introduced an amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act. The amendment, which provides $8.6 billion to help schools meet the federal mandate that was passed two years ago, failed on a 46-52 vote.

“Today, the U.S. Senate failed to live up to the same accountability standards that we have forced on schools around the country,” Senator Murray said. “We all know that the No Child Left Behind Act increased accountability for our schools, but accountability is a two-way street. We can’t demand that schools follow all these new mandates and then look the other way when it’s time to write the check. If we expect our schools to uphold their part of the bargain, then we’ve got to do our part and fund our federal commitment.”

Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in December 2001 and the President signed it based on two commitments: schools would be held accountable for their progress, and the federal government would provide schools with the resources to meet those new requirements. Over two years later, the federal government continues to choose a misguided tax policy over helping struggling schools to meet accountability standards.

Murray’s amendment sought to both fully fund No Child Left Behind and reduce deficit spending by closing tax loopholes.

“Today, the majority in the Senate told America’s children that there is something more important than a good education, and that something is a misguided tax policy,” Murray said. “What good are tax cuts for a few when we are leaving millions of children behind?”

Last week Murray used her position on the Senate Budget Committee to introduce the amendment to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act, but the measure failed on a straight party-line vote.