Federal File

January 20, 1999 1 min read


The Senate committee that handles education issues has a rather wordy new name--the “Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions"--but it comes complete with a snappy acronym: the HELP Committee.

Sen. James M. Jeffords

“I think the new name better reflects the full jurisdiction of the committee, and its abbreviation highlights the committee’s role in dealing with those quality-of-life issues,” Sen. James M. Jeffords, R-Vt., the committee’s chairman, said in announcing the change this month.

The new title of the former Labor and Human Resources Committee has already gone into effect for the 106th Congress.

The committee’s House counterpart, the Education and the Workforce Committee, changed its name in 1995 and again in 1997, but is keeping its current moniker. Republicans on the former House Education and Labor Committee opted to shed the word “labor” from its title when they became the majority in 1995.

Alexander again eyes top job

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander is testing the waters for another presidential race. Mr. Alexander, an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in 1996, filed documents with federal election officials to create an exploratory committee for the 2000 race. The move will help him weigh his chances through fund raising and polling.

The filing was dated Jan. 8, putting Mr. Alexander, also a former governor of Tennessee, in the company of Vice President Al Gore, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H., and former Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey. All have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Alexander, who served as education secretary under President Bush, recently resigned as the chairman of We the Parents, an Alexandria, Va.-based political-action committee he created last September to push for parental tax breaks.

The PAC had been promoting an education-savings-accounts plan that would let parents save money for education expenses without tax penalties. Legislation for such a plan drew a veto from President Clinton last year.

--Joetta L. Sack & Anjetta McQueen

A version of this article appeared in the January 20, 1999 edition of Education Week