Sen. James Jeffords (R-Vt.), a moderate Republican expected to chair
a powerful Senate committee, is taking no chances in his quest to
oversee reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
Next year, Jeffords will take over the Labor and Human Resources
Committee–the main Senate panel responsible for HEA. He also plans to
dismantle Labor’s education subcommittee leaving all the work to his
own full committee staff. Moving ail action to the full committee
ensures that Jeffords will chair all HEA Senate oversight hearings.
A more conservative GOP senator likely would have chaired the
education subcommittee, had Jeffords kept it intact, and some
conservatives had urged a challenge within the committee to deny
Jeffords the Labor chairmanship. But that effort ended when Sen. Dan
Coats (R-Ind.), the conservative next in GOP seniority, declined to
challenge Jeffords for the job. Coats soon after announced plans to
retire from the Senate in 1998.
Jeffords’s panel has yet to announce a hearing schedule for HEA
reauthorization. House hearings will be held by the Economic and
Educational Opportunities Committee, chaired by Rep. William Goodling
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