A key Republican says his goal is to strike an education reform compromise as soon as possible, while a key Democrat expresses caution.

Representative Ron Jorgenson, a Republican from Sioux City, is co-chair of a 10-member committee of Republicans and Democrats who’ve been assembled to draft a deal.

“My objective, personally, is to try to get this…done sooner rather than later,” Jorgenson said. “And so, with that in mind, I personally am willing to meet morning, noon and night every day we’re in Des Moines — whatever it takes.”

Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, is the conference committee’s other co-chair.

“I think that we can make progress at a fairly good pace,” Quirmbach said, “but I want to be prudent about what we do.”

The 10-member committee met over the noon hour today and for more than a hour the two sides spoke about details of their proposals rather than on ways to bridge differences. Jorgenson says legislators “need to do whatever they can” to ensure Iowa students get back to leading the country again.

“If we’re going to improve outcomes, we’re going to have to improve instruction,” Jorgenson said.

Quirmbach expressed concern that even if Democrats and Republicans in the legislature strike an agreement, Governor Branstad may use his item veto authority to reject parts of the deal.

“That makes it more difficult to negotiate a broad-based bill,” Quirmbach said.

Quirmbach and other Senate Democrats want the bill to address policy issues only, so it’s immune from item vetoes. The version House Republicans favor includes spending proposals and the governor can use his authority to item veto sections of bills that make appropriations.