In a series of floor speeches on Thursday afternoon, House Democrats accused their Republican colleagues of wanting to ban books and prevent children from learning about the holocaust and gay and transgender issues as the House began a heated floor debate on HR 5, the Parents Bill of Rights.
The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA), would require all public school districts to disclose their curriculum materials to parents, mandate parental consent for participation in student surveys, and prohibit schools from selling student information “for commercial or financial gain.” The legislation is one of the top priorities of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and was introduced as HR 5 to commemorate the age of students when they begin kindergarten.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans don’t want the children of America to learn about the Holocaust,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said on the House floor. “They want to ban a book called Melissa, a book describing in very personal terms the experience of a trans girl beginning to understand her identity … What’s so offensive about Melissa?… Extreme MAGA Republicans don’t want your child to learn about the LGBTQ+ experience in America. That’s not a decision that extreme MAGA Republicans here in Congress should make.”
Liberal firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) likewise blasted Republicans, saying that people wanted the party to “keep culture wars out of classrooms.”
“Our children need urgent and aggressive educational solutions,” the congresswoman said. “When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism.”
The House is set to begin voting on a number of amendments on Thursday evening. Final passage of the bill is expected on Friday.