Bush forced to veto Democratic legislation that would expand health insurance to millions of children.
The Democrats were right to promise President Bush that they would be sending him legislation that would vastly expand the number of American children that would receive health insurance for the first time. The President has promised the Democrats that he would veto any increase in health insurance for children who are uninsured calling the bill a budget buster and a move towards "socialized medicine." Thirteen Republicans in the House, weary of an angry electorate that is already putting pressure on them for supporting Bush's war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, have decided to break with the Bush administration and give bipartisan support to the bill. At this time, the bill does not have sufficient support in the Senate to override the President's veto. Look for the Democrats to continue to present the bill over and over again for additional vetoes that will force the question making it necessary for an increasing number of Republicans in both the House and Senate to support the bill. In making the case for support of the bill, the Democrats were right to say that it was wrong for the Bush Administration to spend billions of dollars on a useless war in Iraq when one week of wasted receipts could easily fund the expansion of this badly needed program.
Governor Doyle continues to put pressure on the Legislature to pass a budget that was due to be approved last July 1. The Democrats in the Legislature have given their support to the Governor's version of the budget. The Republicans have called the Governor's budget irresponsible positing that it will provide funds for social programs that the state cannot afford. The alternative version of the budget that the Republicans have put forth provides drastic cuts for state agencies, k-12 schools, higher education and many other social programs. The Republican spin machine has been busy trying to generate support for their version of the budget. The cover story in this week's issue of The Isthmus focuses on Representative Steve Nass, Whitewater, who is one of the Republicans chief critics of the Governor's budget who has also been a thorn in the side of the University of Wisconsin in their budget deliberations. Mr. Nass has been a constant critic of the UW System claiming that it has a bloated budget and bureaucracy. He has even gone as far as criticizing the University for hiring "liberal" professors and he has attempted to micro-manage its curriculum as well. The UW Alumni Association, through its Badger Action Network, was right to call on its members to put pressure on Nass and his Republican colleagues telling them that if they continue to make draconian cuts and attempt to micro-manage the UW, they will pay a huge political price at the polls in the upcoming election. It is quite apparent that the Republicans learned little from the lessons of regarding what happened to Robin Kriebeck, R., Eau Claire, when the electorate became tired of his ranting against the UW and voted him out in the 2006 election. The Governor must continue to put pressure on all of the legislators to pass a budget that is fair and meets the needs of the citizens of the state of Wisconsin.
An editorial in last Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal, "Bridge racial gap in education," calls for more efforts to be undertaken to close the achievement gap so painfully evident in Madison's schools. In math, the course sequence that is most vital for the future success of all students, the average score for fourth grade White students is 250 vs. 212 for African American. The gap at eighth grade level increases with White students averaging 292 vs. 247 for African Americans. In reading, the other area critical for academic success, White students at the fourth grade level averaged a score of 229 with Black students averaging 191. The reading gap increased at the eighth grade level as White students averaged 270 and African American students averaged a score of 231. In the wake of the current superintendent Art Rainwater's announced retirement, the Madison Metropolitan School Board was right to hold hearings to get input from citizens in Madison regarding issues and priorities and well as the qualities that they are interested in for the next Superintendent. In the wake of the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, we must remain vigilant to make sure that adequate funding is provided at the federal, state and local levels to address the challenges of the achievement gap. Efforts must also be undertaken to make certain that each new Superintendent and each newly elected member of the School Board, keeps the focus on ways to make sure that all of our young people in the Madison Metropolitan School District are given every opportunity to succeed.
|The Literary Divide/Dr. Paul Barrows
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