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The chairman of the House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee was among the most fiscally conservative members of the 104th Congress during its first 100 days, according to a new voting analysis.

Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., ranked 408th of 435 members of the House in willingness to spend in a computer study of voting records by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. The foundation is the research arm of the Washington-based National Taxpayers Union, which advocates limited taxation.

The study looked at floor votes on all legislation that would raise or lower federal spending, a total of 37 votes on 17 bills between January and April. Some were actual spending bills, while others set maximum spending levels for programs and thus would alter actual expenditures only in theory.

Mr. Goodling voted for $19.43 billion worth of spending increases through April 6, the study found. During the same period, he voted for $29.55 billion worth of spending decreases for a net total of $10.12 billion in decreases, it said--a bottom line that beat out Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and the majority leader, Dick Armey, R-Tex., for fiscal conservatism.

Only four members of the 43-member education panel were found by the foundation to have backed a net decrease in spending.

If Congress scuttles or downgrades the Goals 2000: Educate America Act--as some Republicans have suggested--at least one lawmaker will have to answer to his wife.

Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif., the chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth, and Families, has expressed some qualified support for the 1994 law championed by President Clinton, which provides federal grants to states and school districts to implement reform plans and set standards for academic content and performance.

At a recent hearing, a possible reason for Mr. Cunningham's support came to light when the lawmaker said his wife, Nancy Jones, the principal of Pacific View Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif., had called to ask about the status of his work.

"What are you doing with Goals 2000?" she asked, according to Mr. Cunningham.

"I said, 'Why?'"

"And she said, 'Because I just wrote a grant [application].'"

--Mark Pitsch

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