GOP unveil bicameral bill providing $10B in annual tax credits for education choice

Republicans in both houses of Congress on June 16 introduced the Educational Choice for Children Act, which would provide $10 billion in annual tax credits to incentivize education choice for K-12 students. 

“Giving parents the ability to make decisions over their child’s education puts that child’s needs first,” U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said. “Our bill provides yet another opportunity to empower parents and allow millions of children to thrive in a school that’s best for them.”

Sen. Cassidy sponsored S. 4416 with original cosponsors U.S. Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Todd Young (R-IN). The identical H.R. 8137 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) in her chamber alongside 10 GOP original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and John Moolenaar (R-MI).

“Our children’s education is the key to America’s future success. Every child should have the opportunity to live the American Dream – regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic background,” said Rep. Walorski. “Offering families school options will help millions of children access the best possible education for them. As we look to our nation’s future, this investment will restore power to parents and equip every American child to thrive.”

If enacted, the bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for charitable donations to nonprofit organizations providing education scholarships to qualified elementary and secondary students, according to the congressional record.

“I’ve always said that when you give parents a choice, you give kids a better chance at achieving their dreams,” said Sen. Scott. “By empowering families with more education resources, this bill could change the lives of millions of high-potential students who deserve every opportunity to succeed.”

Sen. Daines pointed out that Montana students deserve every chance to succeed, which includes being enrolled in the proper education program. “I’m glad to support this legislation which will help ensure Montana parents and students have the freedom and opportunity to choose the education that best suits their needs,” he said. 

“All families should have the freedom to make choices that best meet their children’s educational needs,” added Sen. Young. “Our bill will provide more parents with the flexibility to make these important decisions and help to ensure students across the country are afforded the opportunities they deserve.”

Specifically, the Educational Choice for Children Act would set a base amount for each state and then the tax credits would be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

An estimated two million students in any elementary or secondary education setting, including homeschool, would be eligible to receive a scholarship, which could be used for tuition, fees, book supplies, and equipment for the enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary school, the summary says.

The measure has garnered support from the Invest in Education Foundation, the Association of Christian Schools International, the Defense Freedom Institute, the American Federation for Children, and Agudath Israel of America. 

“Parents should have a greater say in their child’s education, and this bill does that,” Rep. Kelly said. “Our children make up about 25 percent of the U.S. population, but they are 100 percent of our future. We must give parents and children every opportunity to pursue the education that is best for them and that puts them on the best path forward from day one.”