**UPDATE** The new Ranking Member on Education and Labor is John Kline (R-MN).
Earlier this week, it was announced that Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon (R-CA), the Ranking Member on the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee, is leaving the panel to take the same position on the House Armed Services Committee. McKeon’s departure is particularly significant because the Education and Labor Committee is considering President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) in favor of a direct lending program that would cut banks and guarantee agencies out of the student loan process and result in savings that would be utilized to make the Pell Grant an entitlement. Congressman McKeon has long been viewed as a defender of financial institutions. Next week, the House Republican Steering Committee will meet to chose a new Ranking Member for the Education and Labor Committee.
Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Judy Biggert (R-IL) and John Kline (R-MN) are seen as the finalists for the Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member spot. McMorris Rogers’ position on the steering committee that will make the decision is likely to boost her chances.