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Jim Jeffords on Education

Independent Jr Senator (VT, retiring 2006)


2001 defection based on special education funding

Following the 2000 elections, the Senate was evenly divided--50 Republicans and 50 Democrats [with Cheney making a GOP majority].

But on May 24, 2001, Vermont senator Jim Jeffords, who had just won reelection as a Republican, defected to the Democrats swinging control to the opposite party. Why did he do it? Publicly, one reason Jeffords gave in the spring of 2001 was that he wanted Bush to remove $200 billion from his tax cut and divert it to special education funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and to make the increase automatic in future federal budgets. The White House balked at the request.

In truth, special education was only one things on his mind. Persona rivalry and pique also seemed to be part of his motivation. He didn't like that Bush had developed a close relationship with New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and was working with him on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reforms.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.230 , Nov 2, 2010

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act revived

Newly empowered by the defection of Republican Senator Jim Jeffords, Senate Democrats take control this week with plans to push for a project he has championed for more than a quarter-century: a special-education program [called the] Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. The White House and Republican leaders in Congress have argued against committing the federal government to paying its legally mandated 40% share of the program. Although Jeffords and other supporters forced a voice vote on the Senate floor last month in favor of the plan, it appeared unlikely that a Republican Congress would include the measure in the final education bill and in the appropriations process. Jeffords made full funding of IDEA, a program to help communities pay for court-mandated education of disabled students, a condition of supporting President Bush’s tax and budget plan. When the White House balked, Jeffords ultimately left the GOP after his relationship with his party further deteriorated.
Source: Susan Milligan, Boston Globe, p. A1 , Jun 4, 2001

Voted YES on $52M for "21st century community learning centers".

To increase appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century community learning centers. Voting YES would increase funding by $51.9 million for after school programs run by the 21st century community learning centers and would decrease funding by $51.9 million for salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor.
Reference: Amendment to Agencies Appropriations Act; Bill S Amdt 2287 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-279 on Oct 27, 2005

Voted YES on $5B for grants to local educational agencies.

To provide an additional $5 billion for title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Voting YES would provide:
Reference: Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment; Bill S Amdt 2275 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-269 on Oct 26, 2005

Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.

Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution that would adjust education funding while still reducing the deficit by $5.4 billion. A YES vote would:
Reference: Kennedy amendment relative to education funding; Bill S AMDT 177 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-68 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted NO on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.

Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-103 on May 15, 2001

Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors.

Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-99 on May 10, 2001

Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.

Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Reference: Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-69 on Apr 4, 2001

Voted NO on Educational Savings Accounts.

Vote to pass a bill that would permit tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses.
Reference: Bill S.1134 ; vote number 2000-33 on Mar 2, 2000

Voted YES on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules.

This vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill aimed at allowing states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. [A YES vote implies support of charter schools and vouchers].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)55; N)39; NV)6
Reference: Motion to Invoke cloture on Jeffords Amdt #31; Bill S. 280 ; vote number 1999-35 on Mar 9, 1999

Voted NO on education savings accounts.

This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report; Bill H.R. 2646 ; vote number 1998-169 on Jun 24, 1998

Voted YES on school vouchers in DC.

This legislation would have amended the DC spending measure, imposing an unconstitutional school voucher program on the District.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)58; N)41; NV)1
Reference: DC Appropriations Act; Bill S. 1156 ; vote number 1997-260 on Sep 30, 1997

Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education.

Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-231 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.

Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
Reference: Bill S.1513 ; vote number 1994-236 on Jul 27, 1994

Voted YES on national education standards.

Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act; Bill H.R. 1804 ; vote number 1994-34 on Feb 8, 1994

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Education.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Jim Jeffords.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Jim Jeffords.
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Page last updated: Oct 09, 2013