WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to reauthorize the SOAR Act, which grants federal scholarships to children enrolled in the lowest-ranked public schools in the nation’s capital so they may attend the school of their choice, according to media reports. The bill likely faces an uphill battle in the Senate, reports said.

Sponsored by Speaker John A. Boehner, the proposed legislation would provide $8,000 in federal funds annually to eligible elementary students and $12,000 to high school students, according to The New York Times.

Also called the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, Congressional Democrats closed the program to new entrants in 2009, citing lack of sufficient success, according to The Times. Critics called the reauthorization a “giveaway” to religious and private schools, but advocates have pointed to reading gains and higher graduation rates among recipients, The Times reported.

The New York Times, “House Passes School Voucher Bill,” March 30, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “A Case for Private School Choice in Detroit,” March 22, 2010