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S.Amdt. 1852 (Cruz) to H.R. 1: To allow limited 529 account funds to be used for elementary and secondary education, including homeschool.

Dec 1, 2017 at 11:38 p.m. ET. On the Amendment in the Senate.

When Republicans were crafting their tax reform legislation in late 2017, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) added an amendment. A type of financial account called a 529 plan allowed tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals when the funds were used for college or higher education. Sen. Cruz wanted to add K-12 education too, including up to $10,000 for K-12 private schools or religious schools.

What Pence and supporters said

Supporters including Pence argue that the option assists parents and children who seek an education that fits what they’re looking for, which may not be the public school geographically closest to them.

“By expanding choice for parents and opportunities for children, we have prioritized the education of the next generation of Americans, allowing families to save and prepare for their children’s future educational expenses,” Sen. Cruz said in a press release at the time. “Expanding 529’s ensures that each child receives an education that meets their individual needs, instead of being forced into a one-size-fits-all approach to education, or limited to their ZIP code.”

What opponents said

Opponents counter that the separation of church and state entails taxpayer funding shouldn’t go to religious schools, and that the public school system shouldn’t be defunded small piece by small piece (with this being a small piece).

“Colleagues, this is nothing less than a backdoor assault on the public K-12 education system,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said on the Senate floor. “The real goal seems to be to take more and more children from the public schools and put them into private schools, and shrink the funds that would be available to the public schools that give all of America’s children the chance to get ahead. Members should oppose the amendment because it undermines America’s public education system.”

The vote

The Senate approved the amendment 51–50, with Pence breaking the tie. Among voting senators, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) crossed party lines.

The broader tax cut and tax reform legislation was passed by the Senate 51–48 and House by 224–201. The amendment was included in the enacted legislation signed by President Trump.

This vote was related to amendment S.Amdt. 1852 (115th) (Ted Cruz) to H.R. 1 (115th). The title of the amendment is S.Amdt. 1852 (Cruz) to H.R. 1: To allow limited 529 account funds to be used for elementary and secondary education, including homeschool..


All Votes R D I VP
Yea 50%
Nay 50%

Amendment Agreed to. Simple Majority Required. The Vice President cast a tie-breaking vote. Source:

The Yea votes represented 45% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.

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