If it feels like we’ve been here before, it is because we have. If it feels like we were here just last year, it is because we were.
Last year Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds pushed for Education Savings Accounts for students in certain Iowa schools. This year she is pushing for Education Savings Accounts for 5,000 Iowa students with IEPs and 5,000 Iowa students already in a public school.
Both are modest proposals at best. To be honest, they’re not exactly anything close to a gold standard for ESAs and parental choice in education.
But it’s the best Iowans can hope for right now (obviously, considering the struggle it is to get it passed in the Iowa House).
And that is where the hiccup is. Or hiccups are.
It is no secret that the reason the Iowa legislature will not meet its deadline for adjournment tomorrow is that Reynolds and the Iowa Senate want the House to have a vote on the ESA bill. I’m sure both parties would like the policy to pass, but they can’t really guarantee results — they can only request a vote.
So what are we waiting for?
It appears the House doesn’t have the 51 votes necessary to pass ESAs. Despite having 60 Republican members in the House, it turns out quite a few of them would rather side with the government education system over Iowa families.
Iowa Democrat Senators spoke about the delay on the floor at the end of Monday’s floor debate.
Iowa Democrat Representatives have been blasting the Republican dysfunction on social media, which is increasing the vulnerability of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and conservatives in the Iowa Senate.
So now, the moderate Republicans in the Iowa House — which may well be a majority of Republicans in the Iowa House at this point — are not just hurting themselves, but they are hurting the governor and the conservative Senate.
It is time for Republican Party of Iowa leadership to speak out and lead the way on this when it comes to Republicans in the House. It doesn’t often get involved in legislative issues, but it should when it is this basic of an issue according to its own platform.
This is an embarrassment. And it is completely avoidable if House Republicans just represent the people who elect them.
Again, from the Republican Party of Iowa platform:
- We believe that parents are responsible for their children, and we support the rights of parents to be the ultimate authority for the discipline, protection, and education of their children.
- We believe money should follow the child in education – whether that child attends public, private, parochial or home school- to assist parents financially in educating their children using the option best suited to their family’s educational needs. We call on the General Assembly to provide for tuition vouchers, tax deductions, or tax credits to permit parents’ choice in educating their children- without government intervention in the school curriculum.
I find it ironic that the Governor can demand transparency of everyone else! https://t.co/LkwXyElWS4
— Sharon Steckman (@SSteckman) April 18, 2022
Ok we've been informed that there will be no floor action/debate in IA House chamber until next week at earliest because status of negotiations between (Republican) senate and house leadership is FUBAR https://t.co/Op4m78rAQf
— IA State Rep Mary Wolfe (@RepMaryWolfe) April 18, 2022
If Republicans would listen to voters who say NO to school vouchers, they’d say NO too and we could move forward with a budget and adjournment. So who are they listening to? #SpoilerAlert #SpecialInterests
— Rep. Jennifer Konfrst (@KonfrstForHouse) April 18, 2022