Harrisburg, Pa., October 5, 2023 — Today,Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield issued the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania House Democrats’ decision to advance a fiscal code bill that specifically excludes funding for Lifeline Scholarships, also known as the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS), and agreed-to increases to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs:
“It is disheartening to see House Democrats choosing to upend the interests of Pennsylvania parents and play politics with children’s futures. Their refusal to allow a floor vote on Lifeline Scholarships/PASS—the priority of the Pennsylvania Senate and Governor Shapiro—puts the education and dreams of countless Pennsylvania students at risk. It strips kids of potential opportunities to succeed.
“After a long summer break, the House Democrats have returned, only to fail to negotiate with Senate Republicans in good faith. Rep. Matt Bradford and Democratic leaders continue to block these popular educational choice proposals in the Rules Committee, because they know there is bipartisan support on the House floor, as well as among their constituents.
“By doing so, the Democrats are holding up their own budget priorities, including hospital funding, hundreds of millions in increases for public schools, and the Whole Home Repairs program. Their devotion to extremist ideology and special interest groups jeopardizes the legislature’s chance for a bipartisan resolution to the state’s prolonged budget impasse.
“It’s time for House Democrats to come to the table and resolve the ongoing budget impasse. Pennsylvanians expect their full-time elected officials to do their jobs, and it’s time for the House to fulfill that expectation.
“Bradford and all House Democrats must reconsider their stance, embrace the spirit of bipartisanship that has been absent for far too long in our state’s Capitol, and prioritize the well-being and educational opportunities of our children.”
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