Senator Lamar Alexander said the president failed to “give a real answer to income inequality” in his State of the Union speech.
Senator Alexander cited his Scholarships for Kids Act – which he introduced in the Senate Tuesday, as an example of a policy that would address income inequality by giving “parents more freedom to choose a better school for their child.” Senator Alexander introduced his legislation at the American Enterprise Institute alongside Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who has introduced legislation that would create similar scholarships for children with disabilities.
Senator Alexander attended the State of the Union with Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey as his guest. The senator’s full remarks on the president’s speech are below:
“I would have preferred to hear the president give a real answer to income inequality, and the first real answer is to liberate the free enterprise system from Obama regulations so it can create more good new jobs,” Senator Alexander said. “The second real answer is to give parents more freedom to choose a better school for their child, and today I introduced legislation to do just that by allowing $2,100 federal scholarships to follow 11 million low-income children to the schools they attend.
“Each state would make the decision about how much school choice to allow, but these scholarships for kids would redirect up to $24 billion in existing federal school funding that right now is often diverted to wealthier schools. 'Scholarships for Kids' would only benefit children from families that fit the federal definition of poverty, which is about one-fifth of all schoolchildren.
“Allowing federal dollars to follow students has been a successful strategy in American higher education for 70 years, and my proposal would allow the same opportunity to attend a better K-12 school that we have allowed in higher education. ‘Scholarships for Kids’ is the most ambitious proposal ever to use federal dollars to expand school choice. If the president wants to address inequality in America, he should do so by helping all children have the same starting line.”