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House Republicans Offer Bill

House Republicans made their opening bid in talks to rewrite No Child Left Behind on Friday, May 13, introducing the first of what are expected to be as many as five bills seeking to rewrite specific parts of federal education law, reports Congressional Quarterly.

The first bill, brought by Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), would repeal authorization for more than 40 education programs deemed “wasteful” or inefficient by Republicans, reducing by half the number of federal education programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “It’s time to trim the fat,” said Duncan.

Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn), who endorsed the bill, said his No. 1 priority in rewriting the nearly decade-old law is shrinking the federal government’s footprint. Rep. Hunter’s legislation, he says, would “help set the stage for increased flexibility on the state and local level.” A bipartisan group in the Senate has sought broader changes, however. It remains unclear whether the two chambers will be able to resolve their differences.

Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, had said his committee would draft a bill by spring, but has yet to release any legislation. Overhauling the 10-year-old law is a top priority of President Obama, who has asked Congress to pass legislation before students return to school in the fall.

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