Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Federal

Education Spending Bill Uncertain in Lame-Duck Session

By Alyson Klein — November 28, 2006 2 min read

Education legislation took a back seat to other priorities during much of the 109th Congress, a pattern that appears likely to continue in the lame-duck session that began after Election Day.

Federal lawmakers have still not agreed on the spending bill for education, health, and labor programs for fiscal 2007, which began on Oct. 1. It’s up in the air whether Congress will complete work on the measure before adjourning for the year.

Some congressional aides say the appropriations bill covering the departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services is likely to be folded into an omnibus spending measure that would finance many departments and agencies for fiscal 2007. Others say lawmakers could simply extend the 2006 funding, leaving the new, Democratic-controlled Congress to finish the bill in January.

Both chambers’ pending bills would provide less money for the Department of Education than last fiscal year’s $57.85 billion. The House bill would fund the department at $56.15 billion, or a 2.9 percent decrease, while the Senate’s would provide $55.79 billion, or 3.6 percent decrease. The appropriations committees in both chambers have approved the bills, but they are awaiting floor action.

If the spending bill isn’t complete by the end of the session, Congress will have to approve another stopgap measure continuing 2006 funding to next year.

John Scofield, a spokesman for Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., the outgoing chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that the chances of getting the Labor-HHS-Education spending measure passed on its own were “slim to none.”

But Margaret Wicker, a spokeswoman for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., the outgoing chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the senator hopes to pass each spending bill individually before the 109th Congress adjourns.

Leadership Shuffle

One reason Congress didn’t make much headway on spending and other bills when members returned after the Nov. 7 elections is that time was taken up in choosing new leaders. As expected, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the outgoing minority leader, was unanimously selected by the House Democratic Conference as its choice for speaker of the House in the next Congress.

But Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, Ms. Pelosi’s preferred candidate for majority leader, the No. 2 slot in the Democratic leadership, lost to Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, on a 149-86 vote of members of the 110th Congress. In the Senate, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the current minority leader, was unanimously chosen as majority leader.

Although the Democrats will be in control come January, it was the Republican leadership races that may have had broader implications for education policy. In the House, Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the current majority leader, beat Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, by a vote of 168-27, to become the minority leader for the House GOP in the next Congress.

As the chairman of House Education and the Workforce Committee until earlier this year, Rep. Boehner was a key architect of the No Child Left Behind Act, while Rep. Pence voted against the law and has disparaged its expansion of the federal role in education.

Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi edged out, on a vote of 25-24, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee for minority whip, the second-highest post for Senate Republicans. If Sen. Alexander, a former secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, had won the post, he may have pushed the Republicans to make education legislation a higher priority.

A version of this article appeared in the November 29, 2006 edition of Education Week as Education Spending Bill Uncertain in Lame-Duck Session

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Human Resources Manager
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Communications Officer
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hamilton County Department of Education
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago

Read Next

Federal Opinion Miguel Cardona Shows You Don't Have to Leave to Succeed
The new U.S. secretary of education nominee sends a hopeful message to students long told they must leave their neighborhoods to make a mark.
Roberto Padilla & Nancy Gutiérrez
5 min read
A diverse community of people tending small plots of plantings
Tasiania/iStock<br/>
Federal Opinion Miguel Cardona Deserves a Chance to Prove His Mettle
Miguel Cardona's lack of a paper trail means most of us don’t yet know enough about him to make an informed judgment. That's fine.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Biden Signs Executive Order to Boost Food Benefits for Children Missing School Meals
The order is designed to extend nutritional benefits that his administration says would benefit children.
2 min read
The Washington family receives free meals at Dillard High School amid the virus outbreak and school closings on March 16, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A family receives free meals at Dillard High School amid the coronavirus outbreak and school closings on March 16, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Brynn Anderson/AP
Federal How Biden's Data Mandate Could Help Schools Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis
An executive order directs the Education Department to collect data on issues like whether schools offer in-person learning.
4 min read
President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, in the State Dinning Room of the White House, on Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, at the White House, on Jan. 21.
Alex Brandon/AP