News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Reynolds, After Five Months, To Get Senate Hearing
After nearly five months of waiting, Gerald A. Reynolds, the nominee for the top civil rights job at the Department of Education, may soon get a confirmation hearing.
Mr. Reynolds, who was announced last June as President Bush's choice to become the assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department, was scheduled to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Feb. 14. However, the hearing has now been postponed until later this month, said Jim Manley, spokesman for the HELP committee's chairman, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. Mr. Manley, who said the original Feb. 14 date had been only tentative, had no comment on what issues Mr. Kennedy might raise with Mr. Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds' official nomination was completed in September, and since then he has spent some time in Washington as an Education Department consultant.
If confirmed by the Senate, he will be responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination and enforcing federal civil rights laws in schools and other educational institutions.
Mr. Kennedy and other Democrats have expressed strong concerns about Mr. Reynolds' résumé and writings, which have criticized some affirmative action policies. But Mr. Kennedy has said he will offer Mr. Reynolds a fair hearing.
—Joetta L. Sack
Bush Education Aide Leaves White House
True to his promise, White House education adviser Sandy Kress returned to Austin—this time for good—on Jan. 11, three days after President Bush signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization into law. Mr. Kress, a former member of the Dallas school board, is a corporate lawyer. He advised Mr. Bush on education matters during his governorship of Texas and during the 2000 presidential campaign.
After Mr. Bush was elected, Mr. Kress came to Washington as a "special government employee," with 130 days to work without undergoing the nomination process for political appointees. Mr. Kress, who had split his time between Washington and his Austin law firm, said early on that he would stay only long enough to get the ESEA done. He spent most of his time negotiating for its passage.
Because Mr. Kress was not a permanent employee, the White House does not plan to replace him.
—Joetta L. Sack
Vol. 21, Issue 22, Page 36