Republican Sen. Rand Paul is working to hold up the ninth reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act — now known as No Child Left Behind — set to take place Wednesday. The act is the “most expansive” piece of federal education legislation ever passed.
At the Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers’ Briefing Tuesday, the tea party favorite explained that even though Republican President George W. Bush pushed No Child Left Behind into law, Republicans have traditionally believed that education should be closer to the people, not in the hands of the federal government.
“Our Republican platform with Ronald Reagan was against the Department of Education. Now, at the very least, if we could just be against No Child Left Behind, which is not the entire Department of Education but actually doubled the size of the Department of Education, doubled the number of workers and increased federal control of education — all things that conservatives are ostensibly against.”
Reauthorization of the act was drafted and sponsored by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Paul and his Republican colleagues plan to introduce over 100 amendments.
“Our number one amendment will be repeal of the entire No Child Left Behind,” Paul said. He also plans to change mandatory sections of the act to be voluntary.
Topping out at over 860 pages, Paul expressed frustration that the bill is being pushed through too quickly and many will likely not read it.
“We will make a stink out of the fact that nobody is going to read it. We haven’t had one hearing on [reauthorizing] No Child Left Behind. They said, ‘Oh, we had them in previous years.’ Well, I wasn’t here in previous years and I’ve got a vote on it. I would have liked the teachers to come in, the superintendents, the principals,” Paul said, noting that teachers are largely against the act.
Paul compared the reauthorization to Obamacare, explaining that there have been similarities in the way the bill is being pushed through and the fact that a majority of states are attempting to get out of the requirements.
“I frankly told Republicans on the committee that this is a little bit like Obamacare,” Paul said. “You can read about it after it is passed, and that is insulting. I think the fact that 37 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico all want waivers [from No Child Left Behind] reminds me of Obamacare. Everyone wants a waiver from Obamacare.”
Tuesday afternoon Paul sent a letter to the committee’s chairman and ranking Republican, Harkin and Mike Enzi, urging them to slow down the process and cancel the scheduled mark up.
“Why are you ignoring your constituents — the teachers, principals, school administrators, parents and children — who are begging you to slow down this process and thoroughly consider their needs and concerns?” he wrote.
“It’s time to put an end to the status quo, slow down, read the bills, and truly work for the American people, not against them. I urge the chairman and ranking member to cancel tomorrow’s mark-up and allow everyone concerned the time necessary to read and evaluate this bill.”