Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered several amendments to the budget resolution that range in significance from Tea Party symbolism to forcing a vote on emerging Republican priorities such as school choice.
The top amendment would have repealed Obamacare three years after it became law. “Obamacare was passed with many promises and yet the reality is, it has not delivered. It is hurting young people, seniors, Hispanics, African-Americans, single moms and it’s hurting the economy,” Cruz said in a statement. It should be repealed. I am proud that Senate Republicans once again stood united and unanimously voted to undo this devastating legislation.” Democrats, naturally, blocked the amendment, although they did vote to repeal the medical device tax levied by Obamacare.
Cruz also offered a “Bloomberg” amendment designed to prevent federal officials from implementing the New York City mayor’s soda ban at the federal level. “This amendment would prohibit federal regulation of the size and quantity of food and beverages,” his office explained.
While those amendments might endear him to the party base, Cruz also pushed a favorite idea of the Republican Party establishment in offering a school choice amendment.
“This amendment would allow for legislation related to school choice, which may include providing a portion of Department of Education funding to the states to allow for scholarships to low-income students, Kindergarten to 12th grade, to use at either a public or private school,” his office said.
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice called school choice “the civil rights struggle of our time” in her speech at the Republican National Convention. “We need to give parents greater choice – particularly poor parents whose kids – most often minorities — are trapped in failing neighborhood schools,” she said.
Rice’s comments were echoed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., during his speech at CPAC last week
“A competitive environment, where schools compete for students rather than the other way around, gives every child an equal chance at a greater destiny,” Cantor said, per Red Alert Politics. “No parent or child should be forced to wait for failing school systems to get their acts together.”