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OPINION

The Democrats Just Discriminated Against Homeschoolers and Children With Disabilities

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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This week, Congress passed a historic tax cut bill that will grow the economy and give millions of American families a raise. It was an incredible victory. House Republicans, Senate Republicans, and President Trump all deserve a lot of credit for getting this done.

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But unfortunately, amidst the excitement over the passage of this fantastic legislation, one unfortunate development went nearly unreported: Democrats are so fiercely partisan that they went out of their way to victimize homeschooled kids, children with disabilities, and their parents.

And the worst part? They succeeded. Here’s what happened:

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the Senate’s most outspoken advocates for school choice, introduced an addition to the tax bill called the Student Opportunity Amendment. The amendment would expand 529 college savings plans to also include K-12 education, allowing parents and grandparents to use these tax-advantaged plans to save up to $10,000 per child per year for private schools, religious schools, or even homeschooling.

This represented a significant change in policy that would benefit more than 50 million children. The Senate voted in favor of the amendment, 50-50, with the Vice President breaking the tie.

However, Democrats weren’t about to let a beneficial piece of legislation pass without a fight. Party leaders ran to the Senate Parliamentarian to complain that the entire amendment ran afoul of the Byrd rule -- another one of those arcane Senate rules that no one understands. But while the Parliamentarian disagreed with the Democrats’ argument about the majority of the provisions in the amendment, she unfortunately found their argument compelling when applied to homeschooling and struck the language from the bill.

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In response, Senator Cruz rushed to the floor and pushed a Motion to Waive the Parliamentarian’s changes, which solely affected the homeschooling provision. This motion would require a 60-vote majority to succeed.

As Senator Cruz explained in a passionate speech on the Senate floor, one of the provisions that was to be eliminated from the amendment was particularly important -- it would allow parents with a child with disabilities to use a 529 plan to pay for educational therapy, which can often be prohibitively expensive.

How could the Democrats vote against that?

“We’ve got right now a motion to waive this mean-spirited, vindictive point of order that discriminates against homeschoolers and carves out kids with disabilities,” Cruz charged. He argued that the vote “ought to be 100 to nothing.”

Nevertheless, not a single Democrat voted for Senator Cruz’s motion. Not one. The Democrats knowingly and proudly discriminated against homeschooled kids and kids with disabilities, in many cases destroying their access to quality education. Even by the Democrats’ woefully low standards, it was a shameful display.

Next time Democrats attempt to take the moral high ground on some issue related to education or welfare, Americans should remember exactly what they did here. When given the choice to help children with disabilities, they chose partisanship. When given the opportunity to make life better for millions of children, they chose to RESIST.

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Shame on them. Shame on all of them.

Senator Cruz, on the other hand, deserves credit for fighting for this important legislation and for holding the Democrats accountable for their cruel decision to put partisan politics over access to education for homeschooled children and children with disabilities.

Election Day 2018 is less than 11 months away, and the Democrats are once again showing where their true priorites lie. They don’t care about children. They don’t care about access to education. They care about politics. This is a moment parents aren’t likely to forget.

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