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Buchanan Would Expand Federal Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund

August 29, 2019 - 6:00am
Vern Buchanan
Vern Buchanan

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., pushed for a federal fund to teach students about the Holocaust. 

At the start of the year, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, introduced the “Never Again Education Act." The bill would have the U.S. Education Department create the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund, expanding middle and high school education on the Holocaust. More than 200 members of the House, including Buchanan, are cosponsoring the proposal.

“With more than 200 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, and now with Senate introduction, it’s clear that the momentum for the Never Again Education Act just keeps growing,” Maloney said last month. “It is up to all of us to make sure that we teach generations to come about the Holocaust and the dangers of intolerance and hate. No one is born with hate in their hearts – it is learned. But we can prevent that if we teach about the Holocaust in all our schools and give teachers the resources they need to do so.”

Buchanan went to bat for the bill on Wednesday, noting a 2018 survey showing 22 percent of American millennials never heard of or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust and pointing to a principal in Florida who was reassigned after refusing to call the Holocaust  a “factual, historical event.”  

“Anti-Semitism has no place in our country, especially in our schools. We need to do all we can to combat this evil ideology,” said Buchanan who is part of the Taskforce to Combat anti-Semitism in Congress. “That is why I strongly urge Congress to pass the Never Again Education Act.

“This funding and training would help educators teach young Americans of the Holocaust’s atrocities,” Buchanan added. “We must deny the purveyors of anti-Semitism the opportunity to spread this hate amongst our students.”

Over on the other side of Capitol Hill, U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., has a companion bill and it has the support of a Florida Republican. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, joined U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., as cosponsors last month when Rosen introduced her bill. 

“The funding could cover training for educators, textbooks, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and certain other educational materials that present historically accurate information about the atrocities of the Holocaust. The bill would also direct experts at the Department of Education to work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops to help teachers incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms,” Rubio’s office noted. 

“The Holocaust is humanity’s darkest hour, and we must never forget the stain it has left on history,” Rubio said last month. “Incredibly, there are still some who deny the existence of the mass murder of six million Jewish people or, even worse, wrongly manipulate the horrors of the Holocaust to score cheap political points in today’s partisan climate. It is our duty to ensure that future generations know the history of the Holocaust in its entirety, so that the millions of innocent lives lost will never be forgotten and that the evils of anti-Semitism will never be repeated.”

“There is overwhelming evidence that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States and across the globe,” Rosen said. “In order to ensure that an event like the Holocaust never again occurs we must take concrete steps to address this growing epidemic of hate, and that begins through education and understanding of one of the most horrific chapters in history. I will continue to support and develop bipartisan policy solutions to fight hate in whatever form it takes because Never Again must mean Never Again for anyone.”

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