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To Get Support for Education Bill, Senators Conjure Lost Art: Compromise

Sen. Lamar Alexander walked into Sen. Patty Murray’s office and closed the door.

Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, had just taken control of the education committee in the new GOP-led Senate and was determined to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the main K-12 federal education law. It was early February, and he had released a draft of his ideal bill, inviting lawmakers to amend it with their own ideas in committee before bringing it to the full Senate.

Murray, the committee’s ranking Democrat from Washington state, was equally serious about crafting a new law. But she bluntly told Alexander that his way wouldn’t work.