Bush extends Head Start preschool
Published December 13, 2007
President Bush on Wednesday signed into law a five-year renewal of Head Start, the federal preschool program for poor children.
The latest update to Head Start, which began in 1965, aims to open the program to more children and ensure that teachers are better qualified.
The legislation raises the eligibility ceiling from 100 percent of the poverty level for a family of four, about $20,650, to about 130 percent, or $26,845, while giving priority to the neediest children. It also sets a deadline of 2013 for half of all Head Start classroom teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.
However, Bush took issue with the elimination of a testing regime for 4-year-olds, which the administration contends is a valuable tool for measuring progress.
Bush again vetoes children's insurance
President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second rejection of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program. Bush said the bill was unacceptable because it allows adults into the State Children's Health Insurance Program, covers people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes. Bush urged Congress to extend the program at its current funding level before the holiday break.
House will investigate incidents with pages
The House's Democratic and Republican leaders ordered an investigation Wednesday into recent incidents involving teenage pages that led to two GOP lawmakers resigning from the House Page Board. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., resigned last week after blaming House Clerk Lorraine Miller, the day-to-day administrator of the program, for failing to immediately notify them of inappropriate conduct. Two pages were reportedly involved in shoplifting while two others were expelled for inappropriate sexual activity. Miller, a Democratic appointee, said she had kept board members informed.
Defense bill: The House passed 370-49 a defense policy bill on Wednesday that would authorize $696-billion in military programs, including $189-billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure, which covers the budget year that began Oct. 1, does not send money to the Pentagon. The Senate is expected to send the bill to President Bush this week, and he is expected to sign it.
ATF nominee: Idaho's senators are blocking the nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying the agency has become overly aggressive in enforcing gun laws. Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo placed separate holds on the nomination of Michael Sullivan, the acting ATF director. Under Senate rules, a single senator, sometimes anonymously, can put a hold on legislative action for months. The ATF had no immediate comment Wednesday.
Tax relief: The House for a second time passed tax relief for 21-million people facing the alternative minimum tax for 2007, instead going after companies and hedge fund managers that shelter money offshore to make up the difference. The vote Wednesday was a near party-line 226-193. The White House opposes the approach and responded with a veto threat.
[Last modified December 13, 2007, 06:43:32]
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