What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Individual Rights : H.R. 2210. Head Start Reauthorization/Vote on Final Passage of a Bill Which Would Reauthorize Head Start Funding, Allow Religious Groups That Participate in the Head Start Program to Use Religion as a Factor When Hiring New Teachers, and Devolve Federal Power to Eight States in Making Determinations of How Federal Head Start Money Should Be Spent.
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H.R. 2210. Head Start Reauthorization/Vote on Final Passage of a Bill Which Would Reauthorize Head Start Funding, Allow Religious Groups That Participate in the Head Start Program to Use Religion as a Factor When Hiring New Teachers, and Devolve Federal Power to Eight States in Making Determinations of How Federal Head Start Money Should Be Spent.
house Roll Call 444     Jul 24, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

The subject of this vote was final passage of legislation to reauthorize Head Start-a federal program which provides early childhood education to over 900,000 low-income children. Progressives voted against final passage based on their objections to the bill. Specifically, Progressives opposed a provision in the bill allowing 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 and illegal. 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 Head Start money with no strings attached; those states, in other words, could use the money however 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 federal Head Start money for purposes other than Head Start at the expense of the education of low-income children. Democrats voted unanimously in opposition to the Head Start reauthorization but, by a razor-thin margin, the measure was adopted 217-216. The deciding vote was cast by Representative Sullivan (R-OK) who, at the urging of Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), was brought to the House floor against doctor's orders. Before DeLay's call, Sullivan had been recuperating in bed from injuries he sustained in a car accident on July 23. The Oklahoma Representative, clad in a tee-shirt, shorts, and sandals, was pushed by an aide to the House floor in a wheelchair where he cast the deciding vote in favor of the Head Start reauthorization bill after Republican Leaders had prolonged the vote by ten minutes to accommodate Sullivan.

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