Reid to Tee Up Less Costly Education Bill

Posted August 2, 2010 at 4:15pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to ditch a $26.1 billion funding measure for education and state Medicaid programs, after a Congressional Budget Office score found the bill’s price tag was too high.

With a CBO score revealing the measure was not fully offset as hoped, the Nevada Democrat is expected to move to table the original bill and tee up a Wednesday procedural vote on a separate, less costly proposal.

The dust-up potentially throws a wrench into Reid’s already tight schedule for the week. The Senate has set debate and a confirmation vote on Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court and is considering dueling energy proposals from both parties. Reid also hoped to clear a small-business jobs bill that has been idling for weeks, as well as a few nominations and a child nutrition bill.

Earlier on Monday, Reid sought to apply pressure on Republicans to vote for the education measure.

“I hope we can come together this afternoon and show the country that all Senators share at least one basic belief: that is, that we must do all we can to make sure our children have teachers in their classrooms and that our communities have police officers and firefighters on their streets,” Reid said, promising the bill accomplishes that goal “in a fiscally responsible way.”

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted the measure for adding to the deficit and dubbed it a second stimulus pushed only for electoral gain.

“Let’s be clear: This bill is a brazen attempt to funnel more money to the public employee unions before an election at a moment of record deficits and debt and to set the stage for a massive tax hike before the end of the year,” McConnell said.