"Power to the Parents!" SOAR Act Passes the House

“The power should go to the parents. Plain and simple. Every parent. Charter school, public school, home school, private school…you name it. That’s where the power should lie,” said Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) debating the SOAR Act on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Yesterday, for 225 members of Congress (224 Republicans, 1 Democrat), the power did rest in the parents and children of Washington, DC. By a vote of 225-195, the House passed the SOAR Act (H.R.471), thus reauthorizing the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program sponsored by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

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Driving the Day: Presidential Leadership by Veto Threat

In America, unelected bureaucrats are apparently empowered to overturn a 75-year precedent in labor law.  The National Mediation Board’s (NMB) Minority Rule decision had the effect of allowing a minority of airline or railway workers to form a union, thus forcing a majority of the workforce into a union.

This is bad policy.  Fortunately, the House is seeking to overturn the decision.  Title IX of the Federal Aviation Administration (HR 658) reauthorization bill would do just that.

Of course, President Obama is not pleased.  Last night, he threatened to veto “a bill that would not safeguard the ability of railroad and airline workers to decide whether or not they would be represented by a union.”  As many have pointed out, the previous policy was good enough for Presidents such as Roosevelt, Truman, Carter and Clinton.

Interestingly, some House Republicans are working with House Democrats to strip Title IX from the FAA bill, though.  Heritage Action opposes the amendment and will include it as a key vote in our scorecard.

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House to Vote on SOAR Act

Later today, the House of Representatives has the opportunity to pass the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, HR 471. This initiative would reauthorize the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), restoring funding that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats eliminated in 2009. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), not only sponsored this important legislation, but have also spoke passionately about putting children and their parents first when it comes to the choice of their education, not politics and special interests.

DCOSP, created in 2004, has given more than 3,300 District of Columbia students the opportunity to attend higher performance schools. Congressionally mandated evaluations of the program revealed significant gains in academic achievement. Participants also have a 91% graduation rate, compared to the DC Public Schools graduation rate of 55%.

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Liberal Senators Unserious Approach to Spending: All Talk, No Substance

Delay, do nothing and talk. When it comes to spending, that’s the strategy of Senate liberals.

It’s pure talk, no substance. Instead of taking real action on spending, they talk about what action the Senate could take. With coordinated media leaks, they seem to offer a proposal without really doing so.

If House Republicans negotiate with the Senate talkers, they’ll lose. They will lose because Democrats will then negotiate cuts down from the vague level that House Republicans responded to. The result would be lower cuts and none of the HR1 policy riders.

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Howard Dean: Quietly Rooting for a Shutdown

National Journal reports that Howard Dean sees a political upside for Democrats in a government shutdown.  The former governor, presidential candidate and Democratic chairman said, “If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it.”

Dean’s thinking should come as no surprise.  Last week, Heritage Action’s Mike Needham wrote “Democrats and their political strategists have been trying to force Republicans into a government shutdown.  It is the Democrats – for political reasons – who are hoping and strategizing for a shutdown.”

Let there be no doubt: President Obama and his Congressional allies are fundamentally unserious about spending.

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