Capital Digest

November 08, 1989 4 min read

President Bush would accept permanent across-the-board spending reductions in defense and domestic programs rather than sign a deficit-reduction bill that does not include the capital-gains tax cut he has pushed for aggressively, White House officials said last week.

If a deficit-reduction bill is not enacted, cuts imposed last month under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law would become permanent.

That would trim about $1 billion from the $24-billion Education Department budget, and would affect all education programs except Stafford student loans and vocational rehabilitation. Additionally, students would pay higher fees to take out Stafford loans and federal reimbursements to lenders would be decreased.

Although the Senate passed a deficit-reduction bill with no extraneous provisions, the House version includes many riders, including two competing child-care proposals.

House Backs New Funds

For Drug Education

The House last week adopted a bill that would boost spending on drug education by $183.5 million while sparing other federal education programs from funding reductions.

The anti-drug bill passed by the Senate in September called for4across-the-board cuts for all nonentitlement programs to pay for President Bush’s $9.8-billion drug plan. Last month, Senate negotiators agreed to a House demand that all cuts be made at the discretion of appropriations subcommittees. (See Education Week, Oct. 25, 1989.)

In contrast to the Senate bill, the House version does not contain provisions requiring schools to have a drug-prevention program and an anti-drug policy as a prerequisite to receiving federal funding..

But the Education and Labor Committee is likely to consider separate school-related measures this week, according to an aide, who added that any bill approved by the panel probably would contain provisions similar to those adopted by the Senate.

Athletes’ Graduation Data

Required by Senate Bill

The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee last week approved a bill to require colleges and universities to disclose the graduation rates of student athletes.

The bill would require institutions receiving federal aid to disclose to the Education Department the graduation rates of student athletes, analyzed according to sex, race, and participation in three categories: football, basketball, and all other sports.

Under the bill, the institutions must also provide the information to high-school athletes they are seeking to recruit.

The measure reflects concern over the low graduation rates of student athletes in many major-college foot8ball and basketball programs. (See Education Week, Sept. 20, 1989.)

A similar measure is awaiting action in the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. But the chairman of that panel, Representative Pat Williams, Democrat of Montana, has said he will wait to see whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association votes in January to require its members to make their graduation rates public.

The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee last week approved two nominees for Education Department posts.

Betsy Brand, slated to become assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, was an aide to Vice President Dan Quayle when he served on the Senate panel. She has been serving as acting director of adult education.

Thomas Anfinson, until recently chairman of the Office of Personnel Management’s rate-advisory committee, was nominated to be deputy undersecretary for management.

Proposed legislation aimed at strengthening the National Science Foundation’s programs for improving the science, mathematics, and technological skills of the workforce may duplicate existing programs, nsf and the Labor Department officials told a House subcommittee last week.

The bill, sponsored by Representative David E. Price, Democrat of North Carolina, would authorize $80 million for foundation efforts to improve curricula, develop technology for literacy training, and establish advanced-technician training programs at community colleges.

But Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, the nsf’s assistant director for science and engineering education, said that “we already have adequate statutory authority to implement our programs.” Proposed programs to improve adult literacy and occupational training, he added, would be more appropriately placed in the Education and Labor departments.

Raymond J. Uhalde, deputy administrator in the office of strategic planning and policy development in the Labor Department’s employment and training administration, added that his agency was “concerned that the bill’s provisions for providing retraining to unemployed or dislocated workers not duplicate existing programs,” such as the Job Training Partnership Act.

The officials’ comments drew a rebuttal from Representative Doug Walgren, the chairman of the House subcommittee on science research and technology. Mr. Walgren said that too often federal agencies work separately on common problems, and he urged the agencies to cooperate to develop effective solutions.

President Bush’s advisory committee on the Points of Light Initiative Foundation met last week to develop recommendations for promoting community service among the nation’s youth.

The five-member panel’s recommendations will not be released, however, until Dec. 15, when Mr. Bush is expected to unveil his legislative proposal for the youth-service initiative.

Last week’s session was the first and only time the committee will meet on the issue, White House officials said.

A version of this article appeared in the November 08, 1989 edition of Education Week as Capital Digest