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1999 Ron Paul Chapter 36

Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)

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4 May 1999


1999 Ron Paul 36:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to express my opposition to H. Con. Res. 84, the resolution calling for full-funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). My opposition to this act should in no way be interpreted as opposition to increased spending on education. However, the way to accomplish this worthy goal is to allow parents greater control over education resources by cutting taxes, thus allowing parents to devote more of their resources to educating their children in such a manner as they see fit. Massive tax cuts for the American family, not increased spending on federal programs should be this Congress’ top priority.

1999 Ron Paul 36:2
The drafters of this bill claim that increasing federal spending on IDEA will allow local school districts to spend more money on other educational priorities. However, because an increase in federal funding will come from the same taxpayers who currently fund the IDEA mandate at the state and local level, increasing federal IDEA funding will not necessarily result in a net increase of education funds available for other programs. In fact, the only way to combine full federal funding of IDEA with an increase in expenditures on other programs by state and localities is through massive tax increases at the federal, state, and/or local level!

1999 Ron Paul 36:3
This bill further assures that control over the education dollar will remain centered in Washington by calling for Congress to “meet the commitment to fund existing Federal education programs.” Thus, this bill not only calls on Congress to increase funding for IDEA, it also calls on Congress to not cut funds for any program favored by Congress. The practical effect of this bill is to place yet another obstacle in the road of fulfilling Congress’ constitutional mandate to put control of education back into the hands of the people.

1999 Ron Paul 36:4
Rather than increasing federal spending, Congress should focus on returning control over education to the American people by enacting the Family Education Freedom Act (H.R. 935), which provides parents with a $3,000 per child tax credit to pay for K12 education expenses. Passage of this act would especially benefit parents whose children have learning disabilities as those parents have the greatest need to devote a large portion of their income toward their child’s education.

1999 Ron Paul 36:5
The Family Education Freedom Act will allow parents to develop an individualized education plan that will meet the needs of their own child. Each child is a unique person and we must seriously consider whether disabled children’s special needs can be best met by parents, working with local educators, free from interference from Washington or federal educrats. After all, an increase in expenditures cannot make a Washington bureaucrat know or love a child as much as that child’s parent.

1999 Ron Paul 36:6
It is time for Congress to restore control over education to the American people. The only way to accomplish this goal is to defund education programs that allow federal bureaucrats to control America’s schools. Therefore, I call on my colleagues to reject H. Con. Res. 84 and instead join my efforts to pass the Family Education Freedom Act. If Congress gets Washington off the backs and out of the pocketbooks of parents, American children will be better off.

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