Thu, Oct 11, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Bush attempts to reauthorize `No Child Left Behind'

LEGACY Bush wants a bill by the end of the year, but there are questions on how far the president's political capital can take him

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , WASHINGTON

With his domestic agenda in tatters, US President George W. Bush tried on Tuesday to prod Congress into reauthorizing his biggest domestic achievement, the 2001 No Child Left Behind education law. But lawmakers have yet to come to terms on the legislation, and prospects for a deal this year appear dim.

Bush invited civil rights leaders, who are among the bill's staunchest backers, to a meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the prospects for renewal. Then, in a bit of theater designed to pressure lawmakers -- especially Democrats, for whom civil rights advocates are a core constituency -- the president took his guests into the Rose Garden, where he issued a public call for Congress to act.

"We don't necessarily agree on every issue, but we do agree that education is a basic civil right," Bush said, adding that the nation "has reached a defining moment in our struggle to secure a good education for every child."

It was the second time in as many weeks that Bush has used his presidential platform to draw attention to the education bill, an intensifying effort that suggests he is concerned that his signature domestic achievement could come undone before his term is out.

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