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Federal File: Moving on Early; Submissions

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Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., last week announced that he will retire from Congress when his term expires in 1996.

Mr. Simon, who is in his second term and previously spent 10 years in the House, is a member of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and its subcommittees on education and disability policy.

In the last Congressional session, Mr. Simon was a strong advocate for replacing the student-loan program with one in which the federal government makes loans directly to students.

During the recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, he supported the Clinton Administration's efforts to target funding for the Title I compensatory-education program on high-poverty schools.

Mr. Simon said in a statement that he has "an obligation to the people of Illinois, to the Senate, and to myself to leave the Senate while I am still eager to serve, not after I tire of serving."

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is likely to become the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education when Congress convenes next year.

In that capacity, he would have a good bit of control over education spending.

But the third-termer has higher aspirations.

Last week, Mr. Specter visited New Hampshire and Iowa to test the political waters for a 1996 Presidential run.

Considered a moderate, Mr. Specter, 64, attacked the g.o.p.'s right wing and its supporters in the religious right. He said Americans will not oust President Clinton from office in 1996 if the Republicans' social agenda is dominated by conservatives.

Also last week, Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Tex., filed papers indicating that he intends to seek the Republican nomination.

Oregon and Utah are the first states to submit school-improvement plans under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. The Education Department is still reviewing some state applications--the precursor to an improvement plan--and it is unlikely that they will act on the two states' plans anytime soon.

Utah submitted its plan and application at the same time. Oregon's application has been approved, and the department has sent the state its first Goals 2000 grant.

--Mark Pitsch

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