Federal

Federal File

October 20, 1999 1 min read

Porter to retire

Rep. John Edward Porter, the Illinois Republican who chairs the House subcommittee that handles education appropriations, announced last week that he would not seek re-election next year.

Mr. Porter, considered a moderate, has pushed for increases in the education budget in recent years. This year, he called for lifting the tight federal budget caps--agreed to by Congress and President Clinton in 1997--in order to put more money into education.

The member from Illinois’ 10th Congressional District is popular among education groups. This fall, he received a distinguished-service award from the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of K-12 and higher education groups that lobbies for increased federal education aid.

Mr. Porter would likely have had to give up his chairmanship after this Congress, under a rule adopted by the House GOP that limits committee and subcommittee leaders to six years of service. Mr. Porter has served in the House for 22 years and as the subcommittee chairman since 1995.


Sweetening the deal

When Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., sought to win support for a controversial amendment to Title I legislation earlier this month, he literally tried to sweeten the deal--with M&M’s.

In fact, he handed out boxes of the candy to Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee shortly before members began consideration of his proposal for so-called Title I “portability” on Oct. 6. Under the portability plan, federal money from the $8 billion Title I program would follow disadvantaged students to the schools of their choice.

Several Democrats thanked Mr. Petri for the M&M’s, but none of them went along with the amendment, which ultimately was rejected on a 28-13 vote. Handing out candy “may help with some other amendments,” but not the portability one, said Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Ind.

Perhaps Mr. Petri should have handed out the candy to Republicans as well, since some of them, including Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., who chairs the committee, did not support the measure either.

But Mr. Goodling did seem to offer some support for a form of portability. He said to Mr. Roemer: “Speaking of portability, if you don’t want your M&M’s, I’ll take them.”

--Joetta L. Sack & Erik W. Robelen

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