We have an update for you on H.R. 4502. Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House Committee on Rules held its meeting on the bill. As we shared earlier, this bill includes language that threatens federal funding for public charter schools. Language in H.R. 4502 stipulates:
“None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be awarded to a charter school that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school.” (SEC. 314)
Amendment defeated on a party line vote
A number of lawmakers submitted an amendment (also found here, under Item 16) striking the language in SEC. 314. Unfortunately, that amendment was defeated by a 4-9 party line vote yesterday. Congresswoman Deborah Ross, a Democrat and the U.S. Representative serving North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District (Wake), voted against the amendment, and therefore, against protecting federal funding for charter schools. Congressman Patrick McHenry, a Republican and the U.S. Representative serving North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District, was a co-sponsor of the amendment. Read his statement here.
Record of the motion and the vote
Here is the record of the motion and the vote from the U.S. House Committee on Rules webpage (click here and scroll most of the way down to access Committee Action and this particular vote, Rules Committee Record Vote No. 129):
“Motion by Mrs. Fischbach to amend the rule to make in order amendment #16 to division A (LHHS), offered by Rep. Wilson (SC), which strikes section 314 of division A which prohibits funds made available by this Act or any other Act from being awarded to a charter school that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school.”
Majority Member Vote
Rep. Torres: Nay
Rep. Perlmutter: Nay
Rep. Raskin: Nay
Rep. Scanlon: Nay
Rep. Morelle: Nay
Rep. DeSaulnier: Nay
Rep. Ross: Nay
Rep. Neguse: Nay
Rep. McGovern, Chairman: Nay
Minority Member Vote
Rep. Cole: Yea
Rep. Burgess: Yea
Rep. Reschenthaler: Yea
Rep. Fischbach: Yea
Taking action; next steps for H.R. 4502
H.R. 4502 has now passed out of the U.S. House Committee on Rules and is on its way to the House Floor. The concerning language in SEC. 314 remains intact.
Charter advocates nationwide are joining together to take action. The Coalition was one of 70 groups that sent a letter to congressional leaders today, urging lawmakers to restore funding to the federal Charter Schools Program and to remove the language targeting charter schools in H.R. 4502. You can read the letter and a statement from the Foundation for Excellence in Education here.
We expect H.R. 4502 to pass in the House. Please take action to protect federal funding for charter schools. Find more information from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools here about what to do. We do expect that the fight to defeat this provision and safeguard charter funding will take place in the Senate. We will keep you posted!