Panetta Budget Blueprint Would Earmark More Money for Education

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WASHINGTON--The chairman of the House Budget Committee last week put forward a long-range budget blueprint under which federal spending for education programs would increase by up to $120 billion above projected levels over the next 10 years.

The proposal by Representative Leon E. Panetta, Democrat of California, was intended to serve as an initial working document for the committee as it undertakes a sweeping review this fall of the federal budget in the coming decade.

Mr. Panetta said at a news conference here that Speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley had asked him to undertake the effort in light of the world's changing political climate and the United States' pressing domestic needs.

Mr. Panetta noted that there has been much talk in recent weeks about scrapping or revising the current five-year budget agreement, which was worked out last year between the Bush Administration and Congressional leaders after a long and painful struggle.

Many of the calls for changes in the accord have focused on a provision that prevents the transfer of defense funds to domestic programs until fiscal 1994.

To launch the review, Mr. Panetta proposed the skeleton of a 10-year budget plan that, he said, would target resources to education and health programs while reducing the deficit and streamlining government. Mr. Panetta suggested that the current 14 Cabinet departments be consolidated into as few as 6. Under the plan, the Education Department would become a part of a new Department of Human Resources.

Mr. Panetta also called for increased funding for the schools and cited several education goals, including making U.S. students the best in mathematics and science; universal literacy; a 70 percent reduction in the school-dropout rate; guaranteeing that every child begin school ready to learn; providing adequate nutrition for hungry students; and increasing opportunities for higher education.

The targets mentioned by Mr. Panetta were similar in many respects to the national education goals set by President Bush and the governors.

In addition, Mr. Panetta's proposal calls for a national health-care program, including childhood immunizations and efforts to reduce infant mortality, economic-incentive programs, and a reduction in the deficit.--M.P.

Vol. 11, Issue 07, Page 21

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