Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has placed a hold on the Never Again Education Act, which seeks to expand Holocaust education in the United States.
If enacted, it would expand the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s (USHMM) education programming to teachers nationwide, requiring the museum to develop and disseminate resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.
The U.S. House passed the legislation in January.
Lee’s office told The Washington Free Beacon that the senator is looking for “some really minor changes to some of the wording” and is collaborating with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who co-introduced the measure, to alleviate these concerns. Lee’s office declined to specify the issue.
A hold is a procedure where a senator tells his or her floor leader that he or she does not want a specific measure to reach the floor for consideration, and therefore may filibuster any motion to proceed to debate the bill or other measure.
The House bill had been expected to pass the Senate by unanimous consent after it was discharged from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday.
The Senate version, which has 75 co-sponsors, was slightly different from the House one in that former had the U.S. Department of Education, not the USHMM, oversee the expansion of Holocaust education in the United States.
Under the legislation, $2 million would be allocated annually for this year and each of the next four years to the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund, administered by the USHMM’s governing body, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Private donations for the fund would be permitted.
The measure would create an online Holocaust-education repository of resources for educators to teach both middle-school and high school students about the genocide that killed 11 million people, 6 million of whom were Jews.
Additionally, the bill would establish a 12-member Holocaust Education Advisory Board to carry out the responsibilities under the bill.
Three of the members would be appointed by the Senate majority leader, three by the House speaker, three by the Senate minority leader and three by the House minority leader. Each member would serve a four-year term with four of the members serving an initial six-year term. Vacancies wouldn’t affect the board’s powers.
Currently, 18 states either encourage or require teaching about the Holocaust.