"It's time to trim the fat," Rep. Duncan Hunter said in announcing the bill to cut 43 K-12 programs he described as "wasteful".
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has missed several events because of severe back pain, his office says.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee is putting the finishing touches on a bill that could eliminate more than 40 programs, advocates say.
Phil Handy, a former state board of education member during Jeb Bush's time as Florida's governor, is advising Tim Pawlenty's campaign.
There has been talk in the Senate of keeping the federal focus under a reauthorized ESEA on only the lowest performing 5 or 10 percent of schools and letting states largely decide what happens to other schools, advocates say.
In an interview with Education Week, the New Jersey governor wasn't shy about casting blame for educational woes squarely on the shoulders of the teachers' unions
His plan involves breaking the education bill into bite-size pieces, including chunks addressing accountability, flexibility, and program elimination.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Rep. George Miller debate the role of teachers' unions in improving student achievement, at an event at George Washington University.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., reintroduces the LEARN Act, a comprehensive school literacy bill.
A bill in the works would give school districts greater leeway in using federal education funding, but another measure being discussed would scrap a number of targeted programs.