Perry urged Texans to ask their congressmen about "their progress on repealing the Doggett amendment that is taking more than $830 million from Texas schoolchildren and teachers right now." Later in the speech, he said the state needed to help school districts through tight budgetary times, which he said were "made worse by a certain Texas congressman who singled out our state for punishment in pursuit of his own agenda."
In a statement, Doggett — that "certain Texas congressman" — called for “less personal politics and more creative collaboration to benefit schoolchildren across Texas," and added that the governor's "jibe says less about the state of the state and more about his own state of denial."
Last summer, Doggett and other Democrats in the House supported an amendment to a bill allocating $10 billion in federal funding for education that said Texas couldn't use its portion — $830 million — to supplant state funding of schools. Because Perry refused to guarantee future funding without the permission of state lawmakers, the Department of Education denied the Texas application for money. In a Jan. 10 New York Times letter to the editor, Doggett wrote that he worked to pass the measure because in 2009 Perry and state lawmakers used $3.25 billion in federal stimulus dollars marked for education to replace state funding for schools.
Now, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, has introduced a bill, signed by all 22 Texas Republicans in Congress, that would repeal the so-called "Doggett amendment." GOP Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison have a similar bill in the upper chamber, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is suing to get the money without the strings attached.
On the Burgess bill, Doggett said: "Not a single Texas Republican voted to approve these federal funds last year. They have spent more time drafting the press release today than they did voting to provide the $830 million for Texas schools in the first place.”