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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Senator Whitehouse defends Pell Grants

Yesterday, I reported that Pell Grants was one of the programs Tea Party Republicans had targeted for extinction in their crusade against anything that was not specifically ennumerated as a function of the federal government in the original Constitution.

This remarkable and successful program has enabled a generation of children from working class families to have the chance to get a college education. In our moden economy, college training can make the difference between poverty and a shot at a better life. But it's not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, so it must be communist.

In the Tea Party's eyes, a whole host of federal programs that do things that were not on Thomas Jefferson's original list are deemed evil, socialist, and must be purged. There are many things we take for granted in 2011 that did not exist in 1787. Like the end of slavery. Votes for women. Government public health programs. Environmental protection. Highways. The Internet. And among the many other things we count on today is public education.

All these things we expect and count on today were not specifically named in the Constitution. However, any reasonable person can see how they fit into these stirring words: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Yesterday, our own Senator Sheldon Whitehouse went to the floor of the Senate to defend Pell Grants as the kind of program that persons of all political persuasions should support.

Here's the video: