Sen. Ted Cruz slammed a Senate Democrat after the bills designed to provide schools with additional funding for safety and mental health services were blocked from passing. As a result of Cruz’s bills, $25 billion would have been allocated for the placement of security officers in schools and a tripled allocation for FEMA’s school safety grants. Schools that teach critical race theory or advocate for abortion rights would have been barred from accessing the funds, as those are likely stated to be irrelevant to education and safety for students.
The Protect Our Schools Act, authored by Cruz and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), was aimed at helping schools with security resources by investing “$15 billion in school security personnel, $10 billion to hire 15,000 mental health professionals, increase physical security in schools through grants and triple the [Federal Emergency Management Agency] nonprofit security grant program to help secure schools,” Cruz’s statement said.
The Protect Our Children Act would have given the schools the ability to “use unspent, previously appropriated federal education-related funding to improve school security,” according to the press release. After Cruz requested unanimous consent, it was revealed that both bills were opposed on the Senate floor by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), said the Free Beacon.
For Sen. Murphy, the legislative push by Cruz is a “theater.” Cruz responded that he is “genuinely flabbergasted” that Murphy opposes the bills without discussing their merits. Following that, Cruz stated, “If another lunatic attacks a school, and there’s not a police officer at the front door to stop it, remember right now. Remember this moment when the Democrats said, ‘No, we will not protect our kids.’”
The bills represent the latest school safety measures that Senate Democrats have blocked since the fatal mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, in May. Following the shooting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) killed a bill that would have given Homeland Security the responsibility to collect data on school safety and provide recommendations to law enforcement.
This was not the first attempt by Senator Cruz to ensure school safety while safeguarding Second Amendment rights. Cruz and Grassley co-sponsored an amendment in 2013 (now known as The Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act of 2021) that would have strengthened the background check system to prevent criminals from getting guns and added several gun rights protections for citizens, but Democrats blocked it.
Murphy claimed he was in legislative talks with what he described as a “more serious legislator,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OKLA), about similar school safety legislation. The Washington Free Beacon was informed by an aide in Lankford’s office that Murphy was mistaken and they were collaborating on another education bill. The school safety bill Cruz introduced in July was co-sponsored by Lankford.
In a press release, Lankford said, “Schools should have the flexibility to access unspent funds to strengthen school safety.” $135 billion in education-related relief remains available. According to Cruz, blocking Secure Our Schools Act was a “totally shameful act” because the bill would have “doubled the number of police officers in our schools to protect our children.”