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Published in Print: February 4, 2004, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Simon, Sclafani Win Senate Confirmation

The Senate confirmed President Bush's picks for two top posts at the Department of Education last week.

Former Arkansas state schools chief Raymond Simon was approved as the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Susan Sclafani, who previously was a top adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige, is the new assistant secretary for vocational and adult education.

Neither of the nominations, approved Jan. 26, was considered controversial. However, President Bush had included Mr. Simon on a list of 12 "recess" appointments he made in December.

The president has the authority to make appointments during congressional recesses without Senate approval, though they are of limited duration. If the Senate had not confirmed Mr. Simon, his term would have automatically expired in January 2005.

—Erik W. Robelen

Bush Signs Omnibus Bill Including Education Aid

The Department of Education finally has a new budget for fiscal 2004, almost four months late. The fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

President Bush on Jan. 23 signed an omnibus spending package that rolls together seven separate appropriations bills.

The department's discretionary budget is $55.7 billion, an increase of $2.5 billion or almost 5 percent over the previous year.

The House approved the package in December, but a Senate vote was delayed because of Democratic objections. It was ultimately approved on Jan. 22 by a vote of 65- 28.

—Erik W. Robelen

Vol. 23, Issue 21, Page 25

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