Kline sees no option but for debt panel to work

U.S. Rep. John Kline says a committee looking into how to deal with the national debt has no choice but to find a solution.

The Minnesota Republican told reporters there is no option because without a bipartisan plan from the panel, Washington will see draconian cuts. “They understand the need to do something because the stakes are so high.

The debt dispute and, closer to home for Kline, working out new education laws illustrate problems Washington faces.

“There is a fair amount of frustration, I think, on both sides of the aisle,” Kline said.

Still, he added, “there is hope because something needs to get done.”

Kline said a big part of the budget answer will be reforming Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, to save money.

As chairman of the House education committee, Kline said that he expects final work on legislation to replace the controversial No Child Left Behind law to pass this fall. However, upon reporters’ questions it became obvious lots of work remains on the toughest issues.

One of those differences is in how the Obama administration is approving waivers to allow some schools to not follow No Child Left Behind. In Kline’s view, the administration approves waivers by ordering new policy, policy that he said only Congress can pass.

“All that power shouldn’t be sitting there in the executive branch,” he said.

Kline wants any new law to forbid such policy decisions, but he may face strong Democratic opposition.

While he said he wants new education laws to be bipartisan, he is ready to push a Republican bill through his committee if that fails.

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