Congress has not yet officially launched a conference committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate revisions of No Child Left Behind. But Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), the chairman of the House Education Committee, says that he is still hopeful that lawmakers will be able to send a bill to the president’s desk by the end of the year.
“The sooner we can move this through, the better,” Kline said to reporters Wednesday. He declined to offer a specific timeline but said that the presidential campaign will only suck up more of the oxygen in Washington as time goes on.
No Child Left Behind expired in 2007, but Congress has been unable to reach a deal to rewrite it. Kline, who announced last week that he does not plan to seek reelection in 2016, said his retirement will free up time, otherwise spent fundraising, to work on legislation.
But does it free him from political concerns, making it easier to find common ground with Democrats and emerge from conference with a bill that the president might sign?
“Whatever we do, when it comes out of conference, it needs to get the votes to pass,” Kline said. “Not every Republican, not every Democrat. The majority of the majority and the majority of the minority is what we’re looking for. That should give us a good strong bipartisan bill that we can send to the president.
“Is he going to sign it?” Kline said. “Well, that puts a lot of pressure on him to sign it, if we’ve got a bill like that.”