Tom Harkin Out? This weekend, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) announced he won't be running for reelection. While the "liberal lion's" announcement made news, what I didn't see mentioned in many stories about the retirement is that Harkin is chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee -- the very one that is in charge of dealing with the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. So what's next for HELP? Harkin has told me he intends to reset the reauthorization process while he's still there, but as the folks at Politics K-12 note, that desire could "set up an interesting dynamic with the Obama administration," which is more focused on implementing the waivers it has issued from the law to 34 states and Washington, D.C. The White House wasn't exactly thrilled with the bill his committee moved last year.
One upon a time, education was known as a bipartisan issue in Congress. The passage of No Child Left Behind, for example, was heralded by Democrats like Ted Kennedy and George Miller, as well as Republicans like John Boehner and former President George W. Bush.