The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher and Maria Gold outline President Bush's education proposal to extend reading and math testing into high school. Bush said the money for the program would come from $1.5 billion earmarked in his budget — much of which will come from existing programs. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Nick Anderson breaks down the plan's specifics. LINK
The New York Times' Anne Kornblut (let that roll pleasingly off of your tongue!) covered the President's day (GA our butt!!) and gets Tom Davis to repeat his skittishness about partial privatization/personalification." LINK
Ryan Lizza in The New Republic has a great look at the institutional politics of Social Security and gets Rep. Adam Smith to rule out voting for a proposal that includes private accounts. He raises the question: will the GOP use the Byrd rule if it can't get 60 Senate votes?
"It would just be sad for the president to tie his shoelaces together right out of the starting block," Rep. J.D. Hayworth tells the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan about the president's immigration proposals. LINK
David Broder gives props to outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge for his "new model of federalism" that partners federal and local law enforcement authorities in dealing with national security issues, training of emergency personnel, and the prospect of terrorist attacks. The model's outlined in Ridge's National Response Plan, which gets governors and mayors in on the act." LINK
And the AP's Pete Yost has a less positive piece about the outgoing Secretary. LINK
On today's front page, the Washington Post's Tom Edsall and Jeffrey Birnbaum offer up a look at the corporate donations/lobbying interests funding the inaugural festivities next week, reminding us that campaign finance laws don't apply, and the limit set this year for contributions is $250,000 each. "At least 88 companies and trade associations, along with 39 top executives — all with huge stakes in administration policies — have already donated $18 million toward a $40 million goal for the country's 55th inaugural celebration." LINK
"Practically all the major donors have benefited from Bush administration policies, especially from corporate and individual tax cuts, deregulation and the new prescription drug benefit that is part of Medicare. Most also stand to boost profits further because of Bush's second-term proposals, which include limiting medical malpractice suits, creating private investment accounts as part of Social Security and making a tax-code revision that is expected to reduce taxes on investments."
Note, as the duo does briefly, what Dan Bartlett surely will — the Washington Post Co.'s own contribution!!!!
AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security has told the District of Columbia to use federal homeland security funds to pay for $11.9 million of the $17.3 million in costs it will incur for the Inauguration. LINK
Deborah Orin on the New York performers heading to DC for the balls and festivities. LINK