On Friday night, before the details of the final deal became clear, [D.C. Representative Eleanor Holmes] Norton said, “We are in great danger of becoming bargained as we feared, despite my conversation with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a few days ago, and the many conversations I have had with the Administration.”
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program — which provides low-income District students with federal money to attend private schools — is a top priority of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The program was closed to new entrants by Democrats in 2009, but Boehner has sought to revive and expand the program. The House passed a Boehner-authored bill last month — the SOAR Act — to reauthorize the program for five more years, and that bill will be included in the final spending deal and signed into law by Obama.
That is a huge win for the children of Washington, D.C. and a blow against the teachers’ unions who fought the successful program with all their might. Good on John Boehner for making sure it was part of the deal and for backing down the Democrats who so vociferously opposed it.