Federal File

January 17, 2001 1 min read

HELP for Clinton

President Clinton may be leaving office this week, but the Senate education committee hasn’t seen the last of his legacy.

His wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., was one of two Democrats named last week as new members of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

The other is Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who last summer was considered a top contender to become Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore’s vice presidential running mate.

Thanks to an election that produced a 50-50 divide in the Senate, all committees will now have equal party representation. In the previous Congress, the HELP Committee had 10 Republicans and eight Democrats.

Committee resources for staffing will also be evenly divided. Republican James M. Jeffords of Vermont will remain the chairman.

Mrs. Clinton made education a top priority during her campaign. She emphasized many staples of her husband’s agenda, such as providing federal aid for school construction and class-size reduction.

No hard feelings

Education historian Diane Ravitch, who resigned as an adviser to President-elect Bush’s 2000 campaign over his refusal to meet with a group of gay Republicans, has agreed to help the Bush-Cheney transition team prepare an education agenda. (“Ravitch Leaves Bush Campaign Over Log Cabin Stance,” Jan. 12, 2000.)

She is among 31 people serving on an advisory group for that purpose.

“I’m happy to give advice to whoever’s elected president,” said Ms. Ravitch, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who served as an assistant education secretary for President George Bush, the president-elect’s father.

She noted that when she advised the campaign, she was expected at times to speak on Mr. Bush’s behalf. But this role is different, Ms. Ravitch said.

“I’m not being asked to speak on his views,” she said. “I’m being asked to speak on my views.”

—Erik W. Robelen

A version of this article appeared in the January 17, 2001 edition of Education Week