President Carter's plan for a separate new Education Department was put in jeopardy yesterday when House leaders agreed to delay a vote on the measure until next weeks.
The House calender for that week already is crowded with such priority legislation as natural gas pricing and other energy bills, tax-cost legislation and a vote on whether to override President Carter's promised veto of a public works bill.
"Frankly, looking at it from that standpoint, I seriously doubt if we can get it done," House Majority Leader Jim Wright (D-Tex.) said of the education bill.
He said the leadership agreed in the delay in exchange for a promise from the bill's opponents to end a minifilibuster that was slowing action on other legislation.
Taking into account the number of major bills left to be considered before Congress' scheduled Oct. 14 adjournment, Wright said. "As a procedural matter, it seems unlikely that we could even get to it."
Under the bill, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare would be split in two for creation of the separate Education Department [WORD ILLEGIBLE] education programs would [WORD ILLEGIBLE] nucleus for the Cabinet-level [WORD ILLEGIBLE] programs from other federal agencies.
Many special interest groups [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Indians, backers of the Head Start program for disadvantaged [WORD ILLEGIBLE] supporters of school [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and child nutrition programs have waged successful campaigns in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] their programs excluded from the Senate-approved version of the bill or from the measure approved by the House Government Operations Committee.
Rep. Robert Walker (R-Pa.), who has been helping conduct the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] against the bill said he has 40 or 70 amendments to the bill for [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
Supporters of the bill say an Education Department would give Cabinet level attention to education and would centralize and coordinate the government's efforts.