News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Clinton Vetoes Spending Measure For Education, Labor, and Health
As expected, President Clinton last week vetoed the spending bill
that includes education, arguing that it would undermine his program to
help school districts reduce class sizes and other administration
Earlier in the week, the Senate narrowly approved the bill by a largely party-line vote of 49-48. The week before, the House passed the measure 218-211. With the president's Nov. 3 veto, the White House and Republican leaders in Congress now must find an acceptable compromise. The spending bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education would provide about the same amount for education programs in fiscal 2000—roughly $34.7 billion—as the president requested.
But Republican lawmakers rewrote Mr. Clinton's class-size-reduction
program so that districts could use the money for a variety of
purposes. They also maintained its current funding level of $1.2 billion, rejecting the president's request to increase the allocation by $200 million.
—Erik W. Robelen
USAC Makes E-Rate Funding Promise
Every school and library that submitted a valid application for E-rate funding by last April 6 will receive it, the Universal Services Administration Corp., which administers the federal program, announced Oct. 25. USAC is nearing the end of awarding $2.25 billion for the education-rate program's second year, which runs from July 1, 1999, to June 30, 2000. On Oct. 25, USAC also opened the initial filing period for the third year of the program, which runs from next July 1 to June 30, 2001. Officials said they hoped to issue commitment letters to applicants by May 5.
The nonprofit corporation that administers the E-rate has paid out $1.1 billion so far to support telephone and Internet services and the wiring of buildings for 30,000 schools and libraries in the program's first year, which ended June 30, according to Kate L. Moore, the president of the USAC's Schools and Libraries Division.
USAC has made $1.73 billion in commitments for that year.
Goodling Unveils Family-Literacy Bill
The chairman of the House education committee last week unveiled his plan to reauthorize family-literacy programs.
Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., introduced the Literacy Involves Families Together Act, or LIFT, on Nov. 4. Its focus is the federal Even Start program, which was funded at $135 million in fiscal 1999 and supports local projects that combine early-childhood education, parenting instruction, and adult education into a unified family-literacy program.
Mr. Goodling's bill proposes changes to strengthen the program's accountability, authorize a reading-research project, and allow Even Start to serve children older than age 8 under certain circumstances. It also would increase the authorized funding level for the program to $500 million.
—Erik W. Robelen
Vol. 19, Issue 11, Page 32