WASHINGTON (June 25, 1998) -- President Clinton should reconsider his veto threat of education legislation passed yesterday because it will empower families striving to provide a good quality education for their children, according an education official at the U.S. Catholic Conference.
"Education savings accounts are good public policy," said Msgr. Thomas McDade, USCC's Secretary for Education. "The objective is to assist parents who want to provide a solid education for their children, whether that be in public, private, religious, or home schools. I strongly urge President Clinton to demonstrate his commitment to families and children by signing this legislation."
The measure passed the U.S. Senate yesterday with the bipartisan support of 59 Senators; 36 Senators opposed the Education Savings Act for Public and Private Schools. It cleared the House last week on a 225-197 vote.
The bill would raise the limit on annual contributions to an education IRA from $500 to $2,000 and would allow the accounts to be used for elementary and secondary school expenses. Interest earned and withdrawals for qualified expenses would be tax free. Education IRAs currently exist for college expenses.
"A great deal of attention is given to the need for parents to be involved in their children's education," said Msgr. McDade. "This legislation would be an affirmation of parental involvement and we should be supportive of it."
Qualifying expenses for which parents could make withdrawals from the tax free accounts include books, supplies, a home computer, transportation, tuition, or tutoring. Parents of children with special learning needs could also apply the funds from the account to meet their particular needs.