A new budget proposal from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos calls for slashing more than $18 million in federal funding for the Special Olympics, as well as many other discretionary programs in the Department of Education, according to the Detroit Free Press.
DeVos defended those cuts before the House of Representatives on Tuesday, receiving tough questions from Rep. Mark Pocan.
In @BetsyDeVosED’s budget, there are major cuts to programs like the Special Olympics. Sec. DeVos didn’t know the number of kids who would be hurt by that cut, so I made sure she now knows that 272,000 kids are seeing their support taken away. pic.twitter.com/6ZiOfDU4Ou— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) March 26, 2019
DeVos noted that her department “had to make some difficult decisions,” and also tried to say she still supports the Special Olympics.
“Let me just say that I think Special Olympics is an awesome organization, one that is well supported by the philanthropic sector as well,” DeVos said.
The Special Olympics has faced cuts from the Trump Administration before
If any of this sounds familiar to you, it’s because something very, very similar happened last year.
The Trump Administration’s budget for 2019 included $12.5 million in cuts for the Special Olympics. DeVos, who is a billionaire, announced a token gesture of donating a quarter of her $199,700 salary to the organization in the face of the cuts, which eventually never came about despite a Republican Congress.
What the Special Olympics money would be used for
While her department’s budget would face a $7 billion overall cut in her proposal, DeVos did discuss plans to add $60 million in charter school funding and the creation of a tax credit for individuals and companies that donate to scholarships for private schools, per the Free Press.
It’s worth noting that this is only a budget proposal. With a Democratic majority installed in the House of Representatives during last year’s midterm elections, odds are that the actual budget passed will barely resemble what DeVos is proposing. Instead, the exercise is essentially a way for the Trump Administration to state its principles, and that apparently includes removing as much support from the Special Olympics and other programs as possible.
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