The House Education Committee is getting a makeover in the new Congress.
First off, it’s changing its name back to House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the title it had from 1995 to 2007, when the GOP controlled the chamber.
Second, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the incoming chairman, has named Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., as the chairman of the subcommittee overseeing K-12 policy. That would give him a spot in the “Big 8" lawmakers that the administration is courting in its push to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
You Congress geeks probably know that, in the past, former Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., a moderate with a lot of expertise on K-12 issues and a long record of working across the aisle, had the job. Castle ran for Senate, but was defeated in the primary by teaparty fave Christine O’Donnell.
Hunter is considered much more conservative than Castle, and a quick look at his work shows that he has a long record on military issues, but I didn’t see as much on K-12, at least not in the last Congress. It looks like he personally introduced just two education bills in the last Congress, one on education benefits for GIs, and another to congratulate the winners of the Voice of Democracy scholarship contest, which honors students for writing essays about military service. And he’s also a parent.
New GOP members of the committee include Rep.-elect Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, who has a national profile on opposing illegal immigration. It’s tough to say what that might mean when it comes to considering various options to educate English-language learners.
The committee may get a chance to take aim at the recent health care law, and that seems to have attracted some doctors to the panel, including Rep.-elect Larry Bucshon, of Indiana; Rep.-elect Scott DesJarlais, of Tennessee; and Rep.-elect Joe Heck, of Nevada.
Other new GOP members include: Rep,-elect Richard Hanna, of New York; Rep.-elect Mike Kelley, of Pennsylvania; Rep.-elect Kristi Noem, of South Dakota; and Rep.-elect Todd Rokita, of Indiana.
At least three GOP moderates are staying on the committee, including Reps. Judy Biggert, of Illinois; Tom Petri, of Wisconsin; and Todd Platts, of Pennsylvania.
And former chairman Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, remains on the committee, too.
Other Republicans who have served on the panel in this Congress (or in the past) and will be back, include Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah; Virginia Foxx, of North Carolina, who will oversee the higher education subcommittee; David Roe, of Tennessee; Glenn Thompson, of Pennsylvania; and Tim Walberg, of Michigan.