President Bush may veto education legislation that he originally proposed if the conference report contains too many extras and too few of Bush's proposals, Education Secretary Lauro F. Cavazos has warned Congress.
Cavazos issued the veto threat in a letter Tuesday to Rep. Augustus F. Hawkins (D-Calif.), retiring chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. That day a preliminary meeting was held on resolving differences in the House and Senate versions of Bush's "Educational Excellence Act."
Cavazos said "each bill contains provisions that are seriously objectionable" but reserved his harshest comments for the House version.
John J. Jennings, counsel to the House committee, described Hawkins as outraged at the letter. A spokesman quoted Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, as saying that "we passed the president's bill."
Bush's proposal called for $378 million. He would devote most of that to reward "merit schools," spawn "magnet schools" not necessarily designed to broaden desegregation and encourage states to expand alternate paths into teaching careers.
In listing his complaints, Cavazos said the House version dropped Bush proposals on magnet schools and alternative teacher certification. He called proposals to forgive student loans to attract more teachers unproven and costly.