Democratic Leader Criticizes GOP Schools Bill
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 18) -- Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle criticized a Republican-backed education bill during a wide-ranging news conference Wednesday. Daschle called the proposal "misguided."
The measure, offered by Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.), would set up a tax-sheltered education savings account. But Daschle, using a blue plastic pencil box as a prop, said it would mean just about $7 per student -- not enough, he contended, to buy more than a box filled with crayons and glue.
The South Dakota Democrat would prefer a bill upgrading public schools, hiring 100,000 new teachers and setting up after-school education programs.
The Senate is scheduled to begin debating the education proposals
On other subjects, Daschle said voters will have a clear choice in November's Illinois Senate race. He said Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun should be encouraged with the results of Tuesday's Republican primary in which conservative Peter Fitzgerald beat a moderate candidate. Daschle said Fitzgerald is out of step with most Illinois voters.
Daschle said he was not sure when the Senate would resume debate on NATO
expansion. The Senate considered the measure briefly on Tuesday.
And he talked about a briefing Senators received from United Nation officials on Iraqi compliance on weapon site inspections. He said the U.N. was pleased with the cooperation it is getting so far from Saddam Hussein, but cautioned challenges could arise when the inspectors go to more sensitive areas.