Washington (CNN) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan says President Obama "absolutely supports" a congressional proposal for $23 billion in emergency education spending in order to stave off teacher layoffs and cancellation of summer classes.
Duncan told CNN Wednesday that the emergency spending request is needed to head off "an education catastrophe, " in which as many as 300-thousand teachers across the country could be laid off.
Duncan also said that without the extra spending, some school districts will be forced to eliminate summer school and after-school programs.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-California, are behind the bid in the Senate and House to approve the extra spending.
Duncan has asked Congress to add the money to an emergency spending measure, being considered this week, that would fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Kennedy Space Center in April. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
Kennedy Space Center, Florida (CNN) – Tim Keyser and Dan Quinn, who work on the space shuttle in the vehicle shop at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, are eager to welcome President Barack Obama when he meets Thursday with NASA workers and officials on America's future in space.
Changes are coming to NASA.
The space shuttle has long been scheduled for retirement at year's end - there are just three scheduled launches remaining - and the president has cancelled NASA's follow-on program, Constellation. The space agency has already spent about $9.5 billion on that project to develop a next-generation rocket, Ares, and the crew capsule, Orion.
"I'd advise him to go back and reconsider on the Constellation program," space shuttle mechanic Keyser told CNN.
Washington (CNN) - Several environmentalists expressed disappointment and dismay over President Barack Obama's decision Wednesday to open key Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters to oil and gas drilling.
"I'm extremely disappointed," said David Rauschkolb, a Florida restaurant owner who organized anti-drilling rallies last month at several Gulf coast beaches.
"Florida's legacy is clean water, clean beaches, sunshine and tourism. Every oil rig is a threat to tourism and coastal well-being. ... All it takes
is one spill."
One leading critic of offshore drilling, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, vowed to fight Obama's plan.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Judd Gregg, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, is expressing doubts about President Obama's plan to create a bipartisan deficit-reduction commission.
"I don't think it accomplishes the goal," Gregg said Friday in an interview. But the New Hampshire senator, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he is willing to look at the specifics before passing final judgment.
Obama is expected to sign an executive order within the next 10 days to create the commission, which would make recommendations to Congress for reducing the deficit, estimated at $1.3 trillion this year.
But Gregg said that only a commission created by Congress would have the power to force the legislative branch to make changes necessary to reduce the deficit.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - More and more Democrats in Congress are calling for action that Republicans warn could muzzle right-wing talk radio.
Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from New York is the latest to say he wants to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine," a federal regulation scrapped in 1987 that would require broadcasters to present opposing views on public issues.
"I think the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," Hinchey told CNNRadio. Hinchey says he could make it part of a bill he plans to introduce later this year overhauling radio and t-v ownership laws.
Listen: Hinchey says he wants to make talk-radio more fair
Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tom Harkin of Iowa added their voices recently to those calling for a return of the regulation.