What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Separation of Church & State : H.R. 2210. Head Start Reauthorization/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Bill Which Would Allow Religious Groups That Participate in the Head Start Program to Use Religion as a Factor When Hiring New Teachers And Would Allow States, And Not the Federal Government, to Determine How Federal Head Start Money Should Be Spent. (2003 house Roll Call 443)
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H.R. 2210. Head Start Reauthorization/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Bill Which Would Allow Religious Groups That Participate in the Head Start Program to Use Religion as a Factor When Hiring New Teachers And Would Allow States, And Not the Federal Government, to Determine How Federal Head Start Money Should Be Spent.
house Roll Call 443     Jul 24, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

One of the few procedural prerogatives available to opponents of a piece of legislation is the motion to recommit. If successful, the motion recommits a bill to committee and is usually a deathblow to the legislation. During debate on Republican-drafted legislation to reauthorize the Head Start program-a federal program which provides early childhood education to over 900.000 low-income children-Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) motioned to recommit the bill to committee based on objections raised by Democrats during the course of debate. Democrats, including Progressives, opposed a provision in the Republican bill which would allow religious organizations that participate in the Head Start program to use religion as a factor when assessing the job qualifications of new teachers. In their view, judging applicants' qualifications based in part on their religion was discriminatory, illegal, and should not be tolerated. Progressives also opposed a section in the Republican bill which would create an eight-state pilot program in which those eight states would receive federal funds and be allowed to use those funds as they saw fit. Progressives viewed the pilot program as a de facto block grant which intended to devolve federal power over the Head Start program to the states. Devolving programmatic and expenditure decisions over the Head Start program to the states, Progressives argued, would enable states to use the federal Head Start money for purposes other than Head Start at the expense of the education of low-income children. Based on these two objections, Progressives voted to recommit the Head Start reauthorization to committee but, on a nearly party-line vote of 203-227, the motion was defeated and the Head Start bill was allowed to proceed in the legislative process.

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