The New America Foundation has a new brief on the looming budget showdown between Congress and President Bush. It says NCLB may play a central role in resolving the stalemate.
Democrats are pushing appropriations bills that would make “the most significant change to federal education funding in the last decade,” writes Heather Rieman, a policy analyst at the think tank. But the president has threatened to veto the Democratic increases in education and other domestic spending.
Rieman foresees three scenarios:
1.) Democrats send the president a huge appropriations bill and dare him to veto it and cause the government to shut down;
2.) Democrats and President Bush work out a deal with increases for domestic programs and cuts for defense and other areas;
3.) All sides make a big deal that gives Bush an NCLB bill and the Democrats the domestic spending they want.
“President Bush wants to ensure that NCLB is reauthorized and left largely intact during his presidency,” Reiman writes. “He could agree to accept a significant overall increase in discretionary funding for education in exchange for an agreement to reauthorize the law for a relatively short period of time (e.g. three to four years) with minimal changes.”
Could this happen? I guess.
Will this happen? Don’t bet on it. Democrats made this type of deal in 2001. Rep. George Miller reminds people often that the president promised him resources if Democrats supported reforms. Democrats got what they wanted for two fiscal years and have been disappointed since. I’d be surprised if they make that deal again.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.