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.
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.
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.
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.
; 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.
; 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.
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.