You know it’s getting bad when even the trade pubs are having fun at the expense of Congress. Check out this dig from Tuesday’s “Inside Higher Ed:”
“Leaders in Congress are still insisting that they are planning to pass legislation to renew the Higher Education Act by July (no, really, they are. Yes, it’s been 10 years since the law was last renewed, but just be patient.). To give themselves more time, Congressional leaders have introduced their 13th temporary extension of the law — this one would expire July 31, instead of the current June 30.”
The measure’s lead champion in the Senate, Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), has temporarily given the reins to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). Aides tell us that the remaining disagreements between the House and Senate include a Kennedy-backed effort that would require states to spend a certain percentage of their budgets on higher ed. Known as “maintenance of effort,” the provision is strongly opposed by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and governors who don’t want their hands tied.
An even tougher obstacle – believe it or not – has been the inability to come to agreement on an effort by Mikulski, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to expand the number of graduate schools eligible for the designation Historically Black Graduate Institution. We wrote about this battle back in April, but never would have guessed that two months later it could be threatening to throw the whole thing off the rails.