News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

April 30, 2003 2 min read
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Top Paige Aide Leaves For Texas Law Firm

Beth Ann Bryan, a senior adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige, has left the Department of Education to return to Texas. Her last day on the job was April 18, according to department spokesman Dan Langan.

In her department role, Ms. Bryan worked on several key matters, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Head Start, and the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001. Ms. Bryan was an education adviser to President Bush when he served as governor of Texas and to the Texas Governor’s Business Council.

Ms. Bryan, who is not a lawyer, will join the Austin office of the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. In an e-mail, department spokeswoman Susan Aspey said that she spoke with Ms. Bryan on April 24 and the former aide “appreciates the incredible opportunity to work with the president and is excited about her new position.”

Ms. Bryan could not be reached directly for comment.

—Michelle R. Davis

Gregg Bill Would Ease Curb on Student Loans

Sen. Judd Gregg, R- N.H., put forward student-loan legislation this month that would, among other provisions, help students convicted of past drug offenses get access to federal college aid.

The drug provision is part of a larger bill—similar in most ways to a bipartisan House bill—that backers say seeks to streamline the process of borrowing for many students using federal aid and reduce administrative costs for campuses.

The measure for past drug offenders was not included last year, when similar House legislation failed to garner enough support to pass that chamber because of what many considered election-year partisanship.

In 1998, Congress barred drug offenders from receiving federal student aid for one or two years, depending on the offense. The House and Senate bills include a provision stating that the penalty would apply only to students convicted of drug crimes while they were enrolled in college and receiving federal aid. It would not punish them for offenses before college.

One key difference between the House and Senate plans is that only the House bill offers student loan forgiveness for family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for Sen. Gregg on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said the Sept. 11 measure has broad support for in the Senate. But because of some budgetary complications related to the overall bill, she said, lawmakers believe that aid would move to passage faster if attached to separate legislation.

— Erik W. Robelen

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