During the last few weeks of 2001, Congress failed to act on several opportunities to include additional funding for school modernization and repair. Despite strong urging from their Senate colleagues, House conferees failed to include a $925 million school renovation program in the final version of the Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Act of 2002. Congress lost another opportunity to fund school construction it failed to reach an agreement on the stimulus package.
While the House of Representatives passed a stimulus package to create jobs and help the economy, it failed to include any money for new construction and school renovation. House Democrats included a provision in their version of the stimulus package that would have created $11 billion in interest-free financing for school construction and repair. (Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Nancy Johnson (R-CT) have sponsored this initiative for each of the last three years.) Ultimately, the House voted to exclude the school repair provision by a vote of 166 to 261 and produced a stimulus package that largely focused on tax cuts.
The President will once again ask Congress for a stimulus package when Members reconvene on Jan. 23. President Bush is scheduled to give his State of the Union address the following week on Jan. 29.
|President’s Reading First Initiative Seeks to Make All Children Skilled Readers by Grade Three
In a key victory for the President’s No Child Left Behind plan, Members of Congress included $975 million in the Labor, HHS, Education spending bill for the Reading First initiative. This program encourages states and local schools to establish reading programs based in scientific research for all children in kindergarten through Grade 3. The initiative only covers preschoolers and grades K through three, potentially leaving millions of children behind who are at-risk in grades four through 12.