Texas House Shoots Down School Voucher Proposal

On November 17, 2023, the Texas House rejected a school voucher bill. 

A coalition of Democrats and several rural Republican legislators teamed up to throw out vouchers from a broad-based education funding bill. This anti-school choice coalition argued that the bill would make education too expensive and mostly benefit families that already have the ability to send their children to private school. 

“I believe in my heart that using taxpayer dollars to fund an entitlement program is not conservative and is bad public policy,” declared State Representative John Raney, the Republican elected official who filed the anti-school choice amendment.

The final vote turned out to be 84 to 63. 21 Republicans members backed the anti-school choice move, on top of all Democrats who were present, per a preliminary vote tally. Following lawmakers’ efforts to successfully get rid of school choice language from the bill, the author pulled the whole legislative package from even being considered. 

On November 17, Abbott took the Republicans who opposed vouchers to take. He described the vote as “just another step on the path to provide school choice for parents and students across Texas.”

“The vast majority of Texans — and Republicans in the Texas House — support school choice,” he added. “The small minority of pro-union Republicans in the Texas House who voted with Democrats will not derail the outcome that their voters demand.”

Abbott vowed to continue “advancing school choice in the Texas Legislature and at the ballot box.”

The Texas governor heavily promoted school choice during his re-election campaign in 2022 and has placed significant pressure on the Texas House to pass said legislation. 

Despite how red Texas is, there are still many establishment Republicans who are in key positions of power. There are no givens when it comes to political parties. Politicians will often say good things on one occasion, but when they actually vote, their behavior tells us a nastier story. 

For that reason, it’s incumbent on right-wingers to continuously pressure their elected officials.  Only relentless activism can make conservative policy priorities a political reality.

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