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Daily Dish: What Does Paul Ryan’s Bid for House Speaker Mean for Reauthorization of ESEA?

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October 23, 2015 01:25 pm

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Yesterday, Republican Representative Paul Ryan officially jumped into the race for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In gaining the support of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Ryan overcame the main roadblock to becoming Speaker, and with support from the Republican Study Committee and the Tuesday Group, Ryan should have enough backing to secure the Speakership. The final vote for the next Speaker is scheduled for October 29.

Since the race for House Speaker began a few weeks ago with the resignation of current Speaker John Boehner, the persistent question in the education world has been: what does this mean for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)? A Federal Flash episode from the Alliance explores the possibilities now that Ryan has emerged as the likely pick.

“The window for an ESEA reauthorization is closing,” says Rachel Bird Niebling, Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate at the Alliance. “If Paul Ryan is elected Speaker next week, he will have a number of major issues to deal with before the end of the year and he will need to bring forward issues that unify his party,” she continues. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to include a reauthorization of ESEA, given that it required bipartisan negotiations between the House and the Senate, and there was difficulty securing Republican support for the House’s version of the bill just earlier this year.

If he becomes Speaker, Ryan intends to abide by the “Hastert Rule,” meaning that the majority of House Republicans would need to support legislation before it can be moved to the House floor. “It is unclear if Ryan would have the majority support of House Republicans to move an ESEA bill to the floor and since a bill to reauthorize ESEA would likely require support from Democrats to pass, it is unlikely that the new Speaker will want to put this bill on the floor anytime soon,” says Niebling.

On the bright side, earlier this week Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander told Education Week that “we’re moving on a good path to finish the bill up.” In What’s the State of Play on ESEA Reauthorization, an article on the Politics K-12 blog, Alyson Klein reports that that Alexander is hopeful the bill can be done by the end of the year, but acknowledged other factors, such as who will be the Speaker of the House, are at play.

Check out the full Federal Flash video below.

To stay up-to-date on ESEA and other education policy news, sign up to receive Federal Flash updates by emailing: alliance@all4ed.org.

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