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Home Page Contents Congressional Record (Page H8050) Cached
18 September 1998
1998 Ron Paul 101:1
Mr. PAUL. Madam Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to express my reservations about H.R. 3248, the Dollars to the Classroom Act. I take a back seat to no one in my opposition to Federal control of education. Unlike some of this bills most vocal supporters, I have consistently voted against all appropriations for the Department of Education. In fact, when I was serving in the House in 1979, I opposed the creation of the Education Department. I applaud the work Mr. Pitts and others have done to force Congress to debate the best means of returning power over education to the states, local communities and primarily parents. However, although H.R. 3248 takes a step toward shrinking the Federal bureaucracy by repealing several education programs, its
1998 Ron Paul 101:2
If H.R. 3248 did not increase Federal expenditures, my support would be unenthusiastic at best as the system of block grants established by this bill continue the unconstitutional practice of taking money from taxpayers and redistributing it to other states. The Federal Government lacks constitutional authority to carry out this type of redistribution between states and taxpayers, regardless of whether the monies are redistributed through Federal programs or through grants. There is no block grant exception to the principles of federalism embodied in the United States Constitution.
1998 Ron Paul 101:3
The requirement that the states certify that 95% of Federal monies are spent in the classroom, (a term not defined in the act) and report to the Congress how they are using those monies to improve student performance imposes an unacceptable level of Federal management on the states. States are sovereign entities, not administrative units of the Federal Government, and should not have to account to the Federal Government for their management of educational programs.
1998 Ron Paul 101:4
For all its flaws, the original version of H.R. 3248 at least restored some measure of state control of education because it placed no restrictions on a states use of funds. It was, thus, a pure block grant. However, this bill does not even give states that level of discretion as H.R. 3248 has been amended to restrict the uses to which a state can apply its block grants.
1998 Ron Paul 101:5
Under the revised version of H.R. 3248, states can only spend their block grant money on one or more of the programs supposedly repealed by the Federal Government! In fact, this bill is merely one more example of mandate federalism where states are given flexibility to determine how best to fulfill goals set by Congress. Granting states the authority to select a particular form of federal management of education may be an improvement over the current system, but it is hardly a restoration of state and local control over education!
1998 Ron Paul 101:6
The federal governments power to treat state governments as their administrative subordinates stems from an abuse of Congress
1998 Ron Paul 101:7
As long as the federal government controls education dollars, states and local schools will obey federal mandates; the core problem is not that federal monies are given with the inevitable strings attached, the real problem is the existence of federal taxation and funding.
1998 Ron Paul 101:8
Since federal spending is the root of federal control, by increasing federal spending this bill lays the groundwork for future Congresses to fasten more and more mandates on the states. Because state and even local officials, not federal bureaucrats, will be carrying out these mandates, this system could complete the transformation of the state governments into mere agents of the federal government.
1998 Ron Paul 101:9
Madam Chairman, those who doubt the likelihood of the above scenario should remember that the Education Committee could not even pass the initial block grant without giving in to the temptation to limit state autonomy in the use of education funds because Congress cannot trust the states to do the right thing! Given that this Congress cannot pass a clean block grant, who can doubt that some future Congress will decide that the States need federal leadership to ensure they use their block grants in the correct manner, or that states should be forced to use at least a certain percentage of their block grant funds on a few vital programs.
1998 Ron Paul 101:10
I would also ask those of my colleagues who claim that block grant will lead to future reductions in expenditures how likely is this will occur when Congress had to increase expenditures in order to originally implement the block grant programs?
1998 Ron Paul 101:11
Furthermore, by increasing the flow of federal money to state and local educrats, rather than directly increasing parental control over education through education tax credits and tax cuts, the effect will be to make state and local officials even less responsive to parents. I wish to remind my colleagues that many state and local education officials support the same programs as the federal educrats. The officials responsible for the genital exams of junior high school girls in Pennsylvania should not be rewarded with more federal taxpayers dollars to spend as they wish.
1998 Ron Paul 101:12
It will be claimed that this bill does not increase spending, it merely funds education spending at the current level by adding an adjustment to inflation to the monies appropriated for education programs in Fiscal Year 1999. However, predicting the rate of inflation is a tricky business. If, as is very likely, inflation is less than the amount dictated by this bill, the result will be an increase in education spending in real dollar terms. Still, that is beside the point, any spending increase, whether real or nominal, ought to be opposed. CBO reports that H.R. 3248 provides additional authorization of 9.5B.
1998 Ron Paul 101:13
Madam Chairman, while I applaud the attempt by the drafters of this bill to attempt to reduce the federal education bureaucracy, the fact is the Dollars to the Classroom Act represents the latest attempt of this Congress to avoid addressing philosophical and constitutional questions of the role of the Federal and State Governments by means of adjustments in management in the name of devolution. Devolution is said to be a return to states rights since it decentralized the management of federal program; this is a new 1990s definition of the original concept of federalism and is a poor substitute for the original, constitutional definition of federalism.
1998 Ron Paul 101:14
Rather than shifting responsibility for the management of federal funds, Congress should defund all unconstitutional programs and dramatically cut taxes imposed upon the American people, thus enabling American families to devote more of their resources to education. I have introduced a bill, the Family Education Freedom Act (H.R. 1816) to provide parents with a $3,000 per child tax credit for education expenses. This bill directly empowers parents, not bureaucrats or state officials, to control education and is the most important education reform idea introduced in this Congress.
1998 Ron Paul 101:15
In conclusion, the Dollars to the Classroom Act may repeal some unconstitutional education programs but it continues the federal governments equally unconstitutional taking of funds from the America people for the purpose of returning them in the form of monies for education only if a state obeys federal mandates. While this may be closer to the constitutional systems, it also lays the groundwork for future federal power grabs by increasing federal spending. Rather than continue to increase spending while pretending to restore federalism, Congress should take action to restore parents to the rightful place as the bosses of Americas education system.
1998 Ron Paul 101:1 Unlike some of this bills most vocal supporters probably should be possessive: Unlike some of this bills most vocal supporters.
1998 Ron Paul 101:10 I would also ask those of my colleagues who claim that block grant will lead to future reductions in expenditures how likely is this will occur when Congress had to increase expenditures in order to originally implement the block grant programs? is ungrammatical and perhaps should read, I would also ask those of my colleagues who claim that block grants will lead to future reductions in expenditures how likely is it that this will occur when Congress had to increase expenditures in order to originally implement the block grant programs?
1998 Ron Paul 101:13 Devolution is said to be a return to states rights since it decentralized the management of federal program probably should read: Devolution is said to be a return to states rights since it decentralizes the management of federal programs.
1998 Ron Paul 101:15 the America people probably should be the American people. Ron Paul often uses the words America and American in reference to the United States of America and not to all of the Americas.