The futures of 1,700 District schoolchildren hang in the balance this week as a stealthy provision to kill the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program – tucked discretely away in the Omnibus bill – makes its way through the Senate. Bill McGurn writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Known as the ‘Durbin language’ after the Illinois Democrat who came up with it last year, the provision mandates that the scholarship program ends after the next school year unless Congress reauthorizes it and the District of Columbia approves. The beauty of this language is that it allows opponents to kill the program simply by doing nothing. Just the sort of sneaky maneuver that’s so handy when you don’t want inner-city moms and dads to catch on that you are cutting one of their lifelines.

With two scholarship recipients for schoolmates at Sidwell Friends School, will Sasha and Malia Obama soon be staring at the empty seats of their former classmates? McGurn continues:

All of which leaves the First Parent with a decision to make: Will he stand up for those like his own children’s schoolmates — or stand in front of the Sidwell door with Mr. Durbin? It’s hard to imagine white congressional Democrats going up against him if he called them out on an issue where they have put him in this embarrassing position. This, after all, is a man who has written of the ‘anger’ he felt as a community organizer, when his attempts to improve things for Chicago school kids ran up against an ‘uncomfortable fact’.

Michelle Malkin links to a recent video of scholarship students reading letters to President Obama asking them to please save their scholarships, noting:

Kids who support government monopolies get all the MSM attention. These kids get…ignored.

As Congressional leaders consider a $400 billion spending bill, they should remember the futures of hundreds of District children – an indispensable investment and mere fraction of the overall bill. In a year defined by “change”, Democrats should not block the doors to a brighter future for so many children.