New York: Democrats Block Free College Funds for Gold Star Kids, Cough up $27 Million for Dreamers.
Syracuse.com reported that New York Democrats pushed back after Republicans called them “heartless” in a recent fight over a new bill for military families. On Tuesday they shelved a bill that would have expanded college tuition for children of deceased or disabled veterans (Gold Star families). Just the week before they approved a budget of $27 Million for college tuition aid to illegal immigrants. Was it heartless or not? Or was it a wrong-headed priority?
“It’s disgraceful. Soldiers who lay down their lives and make the ultimate sacrifice represent the best of us. The children they love so dearly deserve access to the opportunity and promise that is the hallmark of this country. I can’t imagine what’s in your heart when you vote ‘no’ on a bill like this.”
Assemblyman Gary Finch, R-Springport in a Syracuse article
On Wednesday, Democrats claimed to be only thinking about the money when they shelved the bill, which would have granted free tuition to about “500 or fewer” military children at around $6 Million, according to Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski. The bill would have paid 100% tuition plus room and board for a Gold Star student to attend any SUNY or CUNY school.
Eleven Assembly members voted against shelving the bill, including 4 Democrats. The vote was 15-11 to shelve it. It is not unusual according to Assemblyman Barclay, for items to be passed outside of the budget. Assemblyman Barclay felt that it was more of a vote against the Republican sponsors than anything else.
“We get so caught up in majority and minority issues here, we can’t see the forest through the trees. I don’t know how they don’t justify this.” Will Barclay R-Batavia.
One of the Democrats who voted for the bill and against its shelving was Al Stirpe. But he condemned the Republicans for “politicizing” the vote.
“I supported this bill, but I cannot condone those who are attempting to turn this issue into a misleading press release that politicizes an issue we should be able to agree on, and that is honoring families who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.” Assemblyman Al Stirpe, D-Cicero
In spite of the Democrats who say that Republicans have politicized this issue, it does reflect poorly on the New York Assembly’s priorities. They appear to believe paying for the children of illegals to attend their schools is more important than the children of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. They can’t get around that by claiming they were just looking out for their budget’s bottom line. If they were really doing that, they would have taken care of their own families first during the regular budget process.