March 24, 2023

Congressman Castro, Congressional Dads Caucus Members Slam GOP's Anti-Family Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and members of the Congressional Dads Caucus released the following statements after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, Republican legislation that would open the door for extremists to dictate what students can and cannot read and learn in school.

“We should encourage all parents to be engaged in their child’s education and active in their school community, but this bill – under the guise of parental rights – undermines our public education system,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20). “Instead of working to keep children safe in the classroom, provide better wages for teachers, and empower students of all backgrounds to learn more about the world around them, Republicans would rather help far-right extremists whitewash history in public schools. Our children deserve to learn without being caught in divisive culture wars. These partisan attacks on students, particularly LGBTQ+ and minority students, need to stop.”

“This extreme Republican bill is out of touch with the needs of working families. As founder of the Dads Caucus and a new parent myself, I’ve heard from parents across our country asking for more resources to educate our students and keep children safe from gun violence. Instead, MAGA Republicans passed a bill that brings culture wars into our classrooms, whitewashes history, and attacks LGBTQ+ children,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34). “This is just the latest example of GOP leadership cowering to the most extreme voices in their conference and failing to deliver anything of real meaning For The People.”

“As one of the few people in Congress who has changed a diaper recently, I can tell you this bill does nothing to actually help parents. Republicans are more focused on banning books than helping kids learn how to read. It’s time they put aside their political tantrums, get out of the way, and let us parents get it done,” said Rep. Josh Harder (CA-09)

“As a proud father to two young girls, I care deeply about making sure every kid has access to a quality public education. Republicans want to allow activist parents to enact book bans and censor teachers nationwide. Not only that, but their efforts to strip students of the right to seek mental healthcare in school without parental consent is not only misguided, it is dangerous. Let's leave education to the professionals so every child has access to the best education possible,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06)

“H.R. 5 puts politics over parents and the needs of students. It would deprive schools of vital resources, censor curricula, and discriminate against LGBTQI+ students,” said Rep. Kevin Mullin (CA-15). “Our focus should be on increasing teacher salaries, improving facilities, expanding nutrition programs, and delivering resources to all schools. As a dad, I am firmly opposed to this piece of legislation and instead want to protect our children’s right to explore, learn, and ultimately be who they are.” 

"If the GOP wants to help children learn, they should stop being tough on books and start getting tough on guns,” said Rep. Jake Auchincloss (MA-04)

“The last several years have posed extreme challenges for families in our district and across the country. But instead of uplifting and supporting our children with real, tangible solutions, Republicans are looking to use our classrooms for their divisive and toxic agenda,” said Rep. Rob Menendez (NJ-08). “As a father of two young children, I know that real support for parents means working on Democratic priorities such as a permanent expanded Child Tax Credit, creating greater access to childcare, and investing in universal pre-k. By putting people over politics, we can meet these challenges and give all families the support they need to prosper.”

“House Republican leadership is following the example of extremist state legislatures across the country and using our children as political pawns,” said Rep. Dan Goldman (NY-10). “This bill creates more problems for schools while doing nothing to solve the most pressing issues that our children face in their education. Our kids don’t need history rewritten or their worldview narrowed, and parents do not want schools to be drawn into Republican culture wars. I, like the rest of the Dad’s Caucus, am focused on delivering on the issues that working families care most about like expanding early childhood education and increasing access to affordable childcare.”

Background on H.R. 5

H.R. 5, deceptively called the “Parents Bill of Rights,” is part of the GOP’s nationwide campaign to censor the education system, rewrite history, ban books, and attack minority communities. The bill would:

  • Create unnecessary and burdensome reporting requirements on schools. 
  • Divert essential resources and personnel away from meeting families’ real needs.
  • Open the door to dictate what students can and cannot read or learn.

The Congressional Dads Caucus, founded in January 2023, is a forum for Members of Congress to advocate for legislation that supports working families. Caucus members believe in policy solutions that help working families thrive, including paid family and medical leave policies for all, expanding the Child Tax Credit, increasing access to childcare, and supporting other policies that reduce poverty and ease the burden on working parents. Founding members include Representatives Jimmy Gomez, Rashida Tlaib, Joaquin Castro, Andy Kim, Jamaal Bowman, Rob Menendez, Dan Goldman, Eric Swalwell, Ruben Gallego, Colin Allred, Mike Levin, Josh Harder, and Raul Ruiz.