Since 2004, there has been a congressionally funded voucher program in the District of Columbia. But unless it is reauthorized by the Congress this week, and approved by the District, the program will be terminated at the end of the next school year.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke to this issue today:

“We apparently have money these days for every conceivable government program and corporate bailout, but we may come up short in providing scholarship money to the indigent in the nation’s capital. What is really disturbing about this is the fact that those who claim to champion the interests of the poor are the very ones standing in their way. That’s because their real allegiance is to the teachers unions who funnel money to them; it is not to the poor.

“The Obama children attend the Sidwell Friends School, the same elite school that Chelsea Clinton once attended. Some of the students there come from impoverished families; they are able to do so only because of the voucher program. If Congress fails to act, these children will be kicked out in 2010. No matter what the Congress does, the Obama kids will be unaffected.

“Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the District is dead last in academic achievement. Barack and Michelle Obama, like most of the millionaires in the Congress who have school age children, are very well aware of this. Which is why they spend their money on private or parochial schools. It’s time those who claim to be pro-choice allow poor parents the right to choose what school they want their children to attend. Such a choice works wonders, and it does so without hurting anyone.”

Senator Daniel K. Inouye is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Contact him at

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