MAY 24, 1961
DEBATE ON FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION
Mr. GOLDWATER. . . . Mr. President, I felt obliged to offer the amendment. I am sure the Senator is well aware of my position on the legislation proposed. I am opposed to Federal aid to education. I am convinced that such aid constitutes an improper exercise of Federal power.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?
Mr. GOLDWATER. I yield.
Mr. MUSKIE. I am a Catholic parent and send my children to Catholic schools. In that capacity, I should like to ask the Senator this question. If his amendment is adopted, will he vote for the bill?
Mr. GOLDWATER. I do not believe that I will vote for the bill, to be honest with the Senator.
Mr. MUSKIE. So, in effect, the amendment permits the Senator to oppose Federal aid for both public and private school. Is that correct?
Mr. GOLDWATER. I oppose Federal aid to education -- period.
However, if we are going to have a bill, and if it is the sense of Congress that we must have the pending bill, then I believe in all fairness my amendment must be included in it. I have offered two other amendments, with the same attitude, that if we are going to have a bill, in good sense and in good morals we must include these groups as well as any other groups.
Mr. MUSKIE. I am sure the Senator appreciates the fact that as a Catholic I am more directly involved in this highly emotional and explosive issue than he is.
Mr. GOLDWATER. I would beg to differ with the Senator. When we refer to parochial schools, we do not mean only Catholic schools. I am an Episcopalian and I support many Episcopalian schools. The amendment would apply to Episcopalian schools, to Baptist schools, to Methodist schools, and to schools of all denominations.
Mr. MUSKIE. Does the Senator believe that Federal aid should not be granted to any school?
Mr. GOLDWATER. I do not believe that Federal aid should be granted to any school. Again, if we are going to have a bill, and it seems that we are going to have a bill, it is only fair that all schools have the assurance of availability of the money provided in loan form.
Mr. MUSKIE. I understand that to be the Senator's position. However, I believe it is fair to suggest that his position puts him in the position of opposing Federal aid for groups which are not now included in the bill. Therefore, he is in the position of opposing more groups than are included in the present program.
Mr. GOLDWATER. I can see nothing inconsistent in my position. I have done the same thing on numerous occasions in respect to bills I have opposed. I believe it is a matter of fairness that is involved in the amendment. It is not a question of being for or against any group. It is a matter of fairness. We take money in the form of income taxes from all people, and then we say we cannot give it back to some of these people who support their own schools. I believe that is morally wrong. I merely want to get the question answered.
Mr. MUSKIE. I am not suggesting that the Senator is inconsistent. I wish to point out that by raising this issue on the floor, whatever it does to the Senator's or other religious groups, so far as I am concerned, and so far as people in my position are concerned, this plunges us into a highly emotional and explosive controversy in which we would prefer not to become involved. Many people believe this is an issue which is of sufficient importance to be handled independently on its own merits. Therefore I wished to make it clear that the Senator's position does place him, not in the position of providing Federal aid for private schools, but of opposing Federal aid for private schools. I believe that ought to be made clear. If his position were otherwise -- if his position were that he desired to permit Federal aid for private schools, that would be one thing, but if he is successful in his present effort, he will be in the position of opposing Federal aid for private schools. I believe that ought to be made clear on the record. That is my only purpose.
Mr. GOLDWATER. I believe the Senator voted for the National Defense Education Act. If he did, he voted for fellowships to be granted to students attending theological seminaries. Thus, under that act, the Federal Government may grant funds to help train ministers of religion. I shall point out in the course of my remarks the inconsistencies in this field. To my knowledge, the Federal Government has been engaged in giving aid to private and parochial schools for the last 16 years. There has never been a question raised about it.
The Senator from Maine wishes to talk about this subject at a different time. An attempt will be made, if my amendment fails, to attach this proposal to the National Defense Education Act. I can see no difference between attaching it to that act and attaching it to this bill. It will have to be voted on some time. We might as well vote on it now and ascertain the sense of the Senate.
If my amendment fails, it will come to the floor attached to the amendment to the National Defense Education Act. So the Senator from Maine will be faced with the dilemma of having to make up his mind either this week or within the next 2 weeks. I simply think it is right that we talk about it now.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I think there is a law of survival on the Senate floor; that is, to develop a facility to so distort one's inconsistencies that they appear to be consistencies. I feel certain that the proposed law is one of which we all take advantage from time to time.
I do not suggest that the Senator abandon his amendment or that he ought to accept my ideas, whatever they may be, as to strategy or tactics. I am quite aware that the issue raised by the Senator's amendment poses a dilemma for me whenever it arises. My only purpose in rising at this time is to clarify the Senator's position, so that I may understand and the country may understand the relationship between the Senator's amendment and the very explosive issue which is involved.
Mr. GOLDWATER. The Senator from Maine has done the Senate a favor in explaining my position, although I thought my position was pretty well known on this subject. I have talked against such an effort ever since I became a Member of the Senate, and shall continue to do so. However, when the Senate is considering passing legislation with which I do not agree, I certainly feel it is my duty to have the legislation as near perfection as possible, so far as I am concerned, when it leaves the floor. I do not think we are being fair to the people of the country when we take money from all of them and then refuse to give it back in the form of loans, not grants, to some of them. That is the whole purpose of my amendment.
Mr. MUSKIE. The Senator's record suggests, certainly, that he always does his duty as he sees it. I would not want my remarks to be interpreted as suggesting anything to the contrary.
Mr. GOLDWATER. Mr. President, those parents who by choice elect to send their children to schools other than the free public schools would receive the benefits of this tax credit so long as their property tax was used for support of the local public school system.
Third, title III of S. 991, providing tax relief for families with children attending college, would apply to all families regardless of whether the college or institution of higher learning that the child attended is public or private, sectarian or secular.
Thus, no feature of my proposal can be regarded as aiding or assisting one group or segment of society to the disadvantage or detriment of any other. All students, and their parents alike would share in the benefits of this program without discrimination or restriction.
I am sure the Senate is well aware of my position on this legislation. I am opposed to Federal aid to education . . . .