Betsy DeVos Backs $5 Billion in Tax Credits for School Choice

Representative Robert C. Scott, a Virginia Democrat who is chairman of the House Education Committee, said Democrats were spending their energy on issues like reversing what he called the chronic underfunding of public schools.

“House Democrats will not waste time on proposals that undermine public education,” he said.

In a statement, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the senior Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, called the proposal “dead on arrival.”

“Secretary DeVos keeps pushing her anti-public school agenda despite a clear lack of support from parents, students, teachers and even within her own party,” Ms. Murray said. “Congress has repeatedly rejected her privatization efforts, and she should expect nothing less here.”

On hand at the announcement Thursday were students who flourished in schools they attended with vouchers or tax credit scholarships.

“While education freedom changed my life, there are many, including some of my friends and family members, who are continually denied that right,” said Walter Banks, who participated in the Ohio scholarship program and is now enrolled in college. “I still go and visit some of the people that I grew up with, in prison, and we talk about some of the things we used to do, but because of a proper education I was able to escape that fate.”

Sam Myers, who has Down syndrome and also graduated from a private school thorough Ohio’s program, said, “School choice helped my dreams come true.”

“I have a job, I do things with my friends and family because of the skills I learned,” Mr. Myers said.