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Senate IDEA Vote: Three Senators Stood Tall. Where Were the Rest?

Note: The bill reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA) passed 95-3. The three senators who did not support it are:

James Jeffords, I-VT
Patrick Leahy, D-VT
Debbie Stabenow, D Mich

Senator Jim Jeffords issued the following statement after voting against a bill reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilites Education Act (IDEA). The bill passed 95-3.

I voted against this bill because Congress has again reneged on a promise it made nearly 30 years ago to pay its fair share to educate children with disabilites. In 1975, Congress agreed the federal government would pay 40 percent of the additional costs. Today, the federal government does not even cover 20 percent. It is the worst example of an unfunded mandate, and the burden will again be passed on to our local schools and property tax payers.

As it did with the No Child Left Behind Act, Congress is making hollow promises. We know from past experience that these funds must be mandatory, and in this bill they are not. There has been much talk about holding schools accountable, but it is time for Congress to hold itself accountable. It is time to pay our fair share.

— Senator James Jeffords, I-VT



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