Rep. John Kline, the Minnesota Republican who’s skippered the Education and the Workforce Committee since 2011, is expected to be officially named its chairman once again for the 114th Congress, when the House Republican Conference votes later this morning.
The Republican Steering Committee released its recommendation for chairmen Tuesday night. The group, which controls committee assignments, said they’d like to see Kline continue at the education panel’s helm. The vote to ratify the recommendations is just a technicality.
[UPDATE (10:21AM): It’s official! Kline got the nod from House Republicans this morning.
“Significant challenges face our classrooms and workplaces, challenges that have persisted for far too long,” said Kline in a statement. “Fixing a broken K-12 education system, promoting certainty and flexibility in our nation’s workplaces, and strengthening higher education are all national priorities that will remain at the forefront of the committee’s agenda.”]
Kline’s leadership of the education committee in the coming session of Congress wasn’t always a sure thing. Kline stepped into to take the top Republican slot on the panel in the middle of a congressional session, so his chairmanship was technically considered term-limited. House leaders had to give him special permission to keep his slot for another two years. More here.
“Let me offer my heartfelt congratulations to my colleagues, all of whom have my utmost trust and confidence,” Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who also once chaired the education panel, said in a statement. “These lawmakers understand that we have big challenges ahead... I know they will set high standards of oversight, foster input and contributions from both the majority and the minority, and produce solutions worthy of the people we serve.
Under Kline’s stewardship during the 113th Congress, the committee has cleared a variety of education measures, including early education, K-12, and higher education bills.
Kline ushered through the full House a Republican-backed update to the No Child Left Behind law, a charter schools bill, a trio of measures that would streamline the federal student aid application and allow federal aid to flow to competency-based degree or certificate programs, and most recently, a child care development bill and an education research bill—to name a few.
In an interview with Education Week after the Nov. 4 midterm election, Kline elaborated on priorities for the coming year: The reauthorization of No Child Left Behind law, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, updating the Higher Education Act, and generally rolling back the footprint of the federal government in K-12 education.