Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gov calls out Democrats

More on the Perry/Doggett clash.


By Gary Martin
Saturday, February 12, 2011

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Perry asked Republican leaders in Congress on Friday to repeal a provision by Texas Democrats that dictates how the state can use federal education funds and criticized the Obama administration over border security.

“From this administration there is a very clear, almost hands-off approach to the Texas-Mexico border,” Perry said. A Homeland Security Department spokesman dismissed the accusation.

And Perry, a Republican, charged that Democrats in Congress, led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, have harmed state public education with a provision dictating state use of federal funds that has tied up $830 million for Texas schools.

“Once Texans really figure out what Lloyd Doggett did — for a rank political stunt — he will be rejected by the voters of Texas,” Perry said.

Doggett accused Perry of making personal attacks to avoid taking responsibility for diverting federal funds to shore up state deficits instead of using the money on Texas schoolchildren.

“This is not about differences between two political figures, but about the future for thousands of Texas schoolchildren,” Doggett said. “It seems to me that he is a little desperate.”

The governor made his comments about education and border security to Texas reporters after a breakfast speech to the Texas State Society at the Capitol Hill Club.

After the breakfast speech, Perry met with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, and Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville.

Burgess has filed a bill co-sponsored by Texas' 22 Republican congressmen that would repeal the Doggett amendment and ease requirements on how Texas spends its federal education funds.

A similar bill was filed in the Senate by the senators from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, both Republicans.

Texas congressional Democrats, meanwhile, say a repeal of the amendment would indicate a desire by Perry and Republicans to “simply replace state educational dollars as was done in 2009.”

Doggett claims the state used $3.25 billion in emergency federal education funds in 2009 to replace state funding, denying state support for “improvements in the quality of education.”

“I consider it one of the greatest abuses of stimulus funds across the country,” Doggett said of the state's use of federal education money to plug state budget gaps.

Perry claimed the amendment was merely “Washington trying to micromanage the state. That is what this issue is about.”

The governor also said the federal government has failed to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and has ignored his pleas for 1,000 National Guardsmen in Texas until 3,000 Border Patrol agents can be hired and trained.

A Homeland Security spokesman said the “Obama administration continues to deploy unprecedented resources to the Southwest border, including Texas.”

Last year, in Laredo, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Perry could follow the lead of Arizona and New Mexico governors and pay for National Guardsmen to provide immediate security.

The governor said he wants the federal government to pay for the deployment.

Perry was in Washington to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference. He has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate because of his conservative credentials. He denied again Friday that he is interested in the job.

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