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It's official. After a year of debate, health-care-reform legislation is dead, at least for this session.

George J. Mitchell, D-Maine, the Senate majority leader, announced at a news conference last week that there was insufficient time to fashion a compromise before the 103rd Congress adjourns, as it is set to do in the next two weeks.

President Clinton's ambitious effort to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans was revised and pared by several Congressional committees before time ran out. The Senate could not muster enough votes to halt a filibuster on even a drastically scaled-down compromise bill last week.

Child-health advocates who had pushed for a plan that would emphasize health coverage for children were disappointed. They fear that expected Republican gains in the November elections will make it even harder to pass a health-care bill next year.

But Mr. Clinton said he and his allies plan to try again.

"This journey is far, far from over," President Clinton said in a statement. "We have come too far to just walk away now."

1995 Budget

President Clinton will get almost half the education increases he requested following Senate passage last week of a bill allocating $27.4 billion for Education Department programs.

The President was expected to sign the bill by Sept. 30, the final day of fiscal 1994.

The bill cleared the Senate Sept. 26 on a 83-to-16 vote. The House already had passed the compromise version of the bill, HR 4606.

It sets funding for discretionary education programs at about $25 billion--a $777 million, or 3.2 percent, increase over fiscal 1994. Clinton had requested a 7 percent increase. (See Education Week, Sept. 28, 1994.)

Passage of the appropriations bill came with some ninth-inning drama when it was temporarily imperiled after a senator proposed an amendment to overturn the federal antitrust exemption for owners of professional baseball teams. The amendment was eventually withdrawn, allowing the Senate to pass the bill.

Much of the new spending provided by the bill will fund President Clinton's initiatives. It provides $403 million for the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and $250 million for the new School-to-Work Opportunities Act.

Some older programs will receive less funding than in fiscal 1994.

Special Education

The Education Department is asking for input on how to shape its proposal to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which it plans to submit to Congress early next year.

The notice appeared in the Sept. 22 Federal Register; comments are due by Nov. 7.

The agency is asking for suggestions on more than a dozen topics, including how to make disputes between parents and schools less litigious, to what degree children with disabilities should be included in state assessment programs, and how to change the funding formula used to funnel special-education funds to states.

Census Counts

The Clinton Administration has decided not to challenge an appeals-court ruling that asked the government to explain why it did not adjust the 1990 Census to account for undercounts of minorities and low-income citizens, a Census Bureau spokeswoman said.

She said, however, that the decision does not mean the Administration plans to reverse a Bush Administration decision to use data without a statistical adjustment for the undercount. Such a move is still under consideration.

Numerous federal education programs, including the Chapter 1 compensatory-education program and the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, use census figures to allocate funds.

Vol. 14, Issue 05

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