The amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), was included in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation budget package. Last month, the Arkansas senator introduced the Stop CRT Act to prevent federal funds from being funneled to teach the theory in public schools.
CRT ideologues, Cotton said on the Senate floor, “want to teach our children that America is not a good nation but a racist nation,” adding: “Those teachings are wrong and our tax dollars should not support them.”
“My amendment will ensure that federal funds aren’t used to indoctrinate children as young as pre-K to hate America,” Cotton further stated. “Our future depends on the next generation of kids loving America and loving each other as fellow citizens, no matter their race.”
All Republicans and one Democrat voted in favor of Cotton’s amendment, passing 51–49 in the upper chamber. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose home state of West Virginia voted heavily in favor of former President Donald Trump, was the lone Democrat senator to join the GOP.
There has been fierce debate over whether CRT or similar initiatives—including the New York Times’ “1619 Project” or diversity, equity, and inclusion training—should be taught to schoolchildren. Parents across the United States have held protests against school boards that have increasingly started to promote CRT or CRT-aligned viewpoints in class.
Meanwhile, some media outlets and pundits have claimed that CRT is only taught in higher education settings, such as in colleges and universities, and isn’t being widely adopted by teachers. However, critics of CRT have said there are plenty of examples of young children in school being taught to believe that white people are inherently racist—a key CRT tenet—and that “systemic racism” permeates every U.S. institution.
Cotton, during his Senate speech, pointed to several examples of CRT being used in schools, saying that at least 30 schools in 15 states have assigned the CRT-aligned book, “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” which depicts “whiteness” as the devil, or Satan.
And Legal Insurrection’s Criticalrace.org, which notes that CRT is an offshoot of earlier Marxist European critical theory, says that “Critical Race Training in primary and secondary education is a growing issue and one that’s significantly more difficult to track.”
The overall $3.5 trillion budget package’s framework was passed along party lines early on Wednesday, with all Democrats voting in favor of advancing it and with no Republican support. However, some moderate Democrats like Manchin have criticized the overall price tag of the bill.