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WITH ELECTIONS LOOMING, CONGRESS LEAVES TOWN AND PREPARES FOR “LAME DUCK” SESSION

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"A long-term continuing resolution that funds government operations at FY02 levels would have disastrous impacts on the war on terror, homeland security, and other important government responsibilities. It would also be financially irresponsible."

Lame duck (lam duk) n. An elected official or group continuing to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

Last week, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund government programs through Nov. 22, but also found time to send a $355.1 billion defense appropriations bill and a $10.5 billion military construction appropriations bill to President Bush for signature. According to CQ Weekly, “The administration appears content to let the rest of government operate at fiscal 2002 levels indefinitely.”

A continuing resolution (CR) is a temporary funding measure that allows Congress additional time to pass spending bills and send them to the President for his signature. Continuing resolutions only fund the programs for which no annual appropriation bill has been signed into law by the President-in this case, everything except defense and military construction. A CR remains in effect until it is superseded by a signed appropriation bill, or until it expires and a new CR is passed.

When Congress returns for a lame duck session near the end of November, it will resume work on the fiscal 2003 appropriations bills. Because Congress has so little time to complete its work before the Thanksgiving holiday, most observers believe that lawmakers will have to pass another CR so programs can continue into December. Congress could then either pass the remaining fiscal 2003 appropriations bills or adopt a long-term continuing resolution, which will last until sometime next year.

A long-term continuing resolution would also affect programs other than education. In an Oct. 3 memo to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. “Bill” Young (R-FL) wrote, “A long-term continuing resolution that funds government operations at FY02 levels would have disastrous impacts on the war on terror, homeland security, and other important government responsibilities. It would also be financially irresponsible.”

No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference

The U.S. Department of Education has created a desktop reference guide that offers a straightforward program-by-program look at the major reforms made by the No Child Left Behind Act. It also describes how the Act’s four guiding principles (accountability, flexibility and local control, parental choice, and what works). The intent is to provide a substantive overview of policy changes and explain how the No Child Left Behind Act affects federal education programs, the responsibilities of state and local school administrators, and our nation’s schoolchildren. Programs for which no funding was requested in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 are not included.

U.S. Department of Education No Child Left Behind Act Reforms Desktop Reference Guide

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No Child Left Behind

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