Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee took part in a series of separate meetings this week in "a day at the White House". The Wyoming senator talked with President Bush about the need for renewal of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act to build in flexibility for rural and Native American Schools. Enzi also shared information about Wyoming energy projects and his thoughts on how to bring down health care costs with the President’s economic advisors. Enzi also heard the President’s views on Iraq as part of Enzi’s marathon meeting day at the White House Monday.
Enzi gathered in the oval office with the President, First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Enzi was joined by the three other members of Congress who head education issues, HELP Chairman Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., House Education and Labor Chairman, George Miller, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif.
"No Child Left Behind should mean that the proper flexibility and focus are provided so that no rural schools and students are left behind. Today’s meeting with President Bush confirmed a strong, bipartisan commitment in the Congress to renew NCLB with some changes that will better meet the needs of all our nation’s schools and better prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the 21st Century," Enzi said.
Enzi attended a luncheon with Secretary of Education Spellings where the two compared notes on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), NCLB, Head Start and other issues. The WIA is designed to help states train workers for jobs in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations needed to ensure America’s competitiveness in the global economy.
In another meeting, Enzi met with the President and a group of senators in the cabinet room as the President prepares for an announcement later this week regarding U.S. policy in Iraq. Enzi said information about the President’s upcoming announcement will have to come from the White House, but Enzi said we must find the best strategy to fit our goals.
"What is important is pursuing the best strategy that will allow our armed services personnel to be able to stand down as the new Iraqi government and its security forces stand up. Ultimately, the future stability, and security of Iraq will be up to the Iraqi people. The relatively new Iraqi government has to know what we expect and follow through on that," Enzi said. "We all want our troops out as soon as possible. It is prudent to constantly look for better strategies that will help us accomplish Iraqi self-government faster and more efficiently. We should rely heavily on the combat commanders who are on the ground in Iraq to help us form good policy."
Enzi had a separate meeting with Al Hubbard who advises President Bush on economic policy.
"I made him aware of the coal to diesel prospect in Wyoming and we discussed how well that fits into the national energy plan. We discussed energy transportation strategies," Enzi said. "We also discussed the high price of health care. Health care is one of the biggest increases in costs for everyone in the nation. I shared some ideas with him including some from a Canadian doctor who has compared the Canadian system with the American system. He feels our system is better, but can be made better and he makes tremendous suggestions. Mr. Hubbard and I also talked about small business health plans and health savings accounts as part of the solution."
Enzi began his day at the White House by attending the 2006 National Awards for Museum and Library Services with the First Lady.
"I met all the award winners and was able to visit with Maggie Scarlett of Jackson about our work to get the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson official recognition as a national museum," Enzi said.