April 23, 2001

Senate Republicans ready to debate: Democrats holding out for more money

The Senate was scheduled to begin debate today on S.1, the President's education agenda, but according to Congressional Quarterly, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has said that he is prepared to mobilize the Democratic caucus against the Republican education bill unless there is a bipartisan agreement on spending levels.

Daschle said President Bush wants to boost fiscal 2002 education spending as part of the reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act by $669 million, while Democrats would like a $13 billion increase over current spending. Without more money, Daschle said, new programs proposed by Bush such as requiring states to improve school accountability would amount to an "unfunded mandate." Senate Republican leaders are expected to offer a motion to proceed to the education measure today, but Daschle said Democrats will not allow the motion to be adopted until the funding dispute is settled.

Meanwhile, HSLDA has delivered a list of suggested changes to conservatives members of the Senate Education Committee and continues to lobby for the inclusion of these changes in the Chairman's "mark." Senate staff sources tell HSLDA to expect debate to begin on Wednesday.

For more information on the changes suggested to the Senate bill see "Is this the Calm Before the Storm?".