House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer hypothesized Tuesday that Republicans won’t have enough votes to pass a controversial education reform measure that’s intended to replace No Child Left Behind.
The bill, dubbed by Republicans as the “Student Success Act,” could come up for a vote by the end of the week. The measure turns billions in education funding into block grants for states to decide how to spend. States can also set up their own accountability systems and the bill would repeal other federal education acts like President Obama’s Race to the Top.
Republicans have also sought to convert other federal programs, like Medicaid, into block grants.
Hoyer, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House, said he is doubtful Republicans have the support to pass the bill, citing the failed attempt by Republican leadership to get a comprehensive farm bill through the House. The Maryland Democrat also noted the objections by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Foundation as reason to believe it won’t get enough votes.
“This is another effort totally contradictory to the effort Speaker [John] Boehner led when the No Child Left Behind Act was adopted,” Hoyer said. “It sets the table for a retreat by America in competing in the global marketplace and creating the kind of talent necessary to do so.”
During his weekly sitdown with reporters, Hoyer also expressed optimism that there’s bipartisan will to update the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court struck down a provision that required nine states to undergo federal review before passing voting laws. The high court said the formula used to determine which states were subjected to oversight from the Justice Department was outdated.
The nine states, mostly in the south, had a history of state and local laws that made it difficult for minorities to vote.
“I’m hopeful and expect that we can move forward on a bipartisan basis to establish a formula under Title IV that will ensure the continued existence of the Title V preclearance requirements,” Hoyer said.