A dozen years ago, John Boehner was chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor and I was the staff director for the panel’s Democratic majority. For five years, I participated in regular planning meetings with Chairman Boehner and the Committee’s Ranking Democrat, George Miller, my long-time employer on Capitol Hill, and Boehner’s staff director, Paula Nowakowski, with whom I had a good working relationship.
Despite deep differences of opinion on many issues before the Committee, Miller and Boehner were able to find common ground and produce major legislation, including the signature legislative achievement of President Bush’s first term, the No Child Left Behind education reform law. The two congressmen had a friendly and candid relationship based around the proposition that each would tell the other how far he could realistically go in search of a compromise.
Part of our regular meetings involved Miller proposing areas of legislation in…
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