News & Opinion | March 27, 2019 11:15 am

DeVos Slammed for Proposed Elimination of Special Olympics Funding

“I believe this budget is cruel, and I believe it is reckless.”

cancelled debt
Betsy DeVos has been ordered to cancel the debt of 15,000 borrowers. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Education Secretary Besty DeVos came under fire on Tuesday while attempting to defend proposed cuts to the agency’s budget.

The proposal requested at least $7 billion in total cuts to education programs, including $18 million of federal funding for the Special Olympics, NBC News reported.

DeVos struggled to defend the proposed cuts before a congressional subcommittee on Tuesday, where Democratic representatives attacked the plan, highlighting the damaging effects such cuts would have on students in need.

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, called the budget “cruel” and “reckless.”

“I really am left with a very serious question for you: How can you support this budget? I mean that genuinely,” continued DeLauro, the education subcommittee chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Other representatives echoed DeLauro’s criticism. “I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. It’s appalling,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), while Republican Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) admitted some of the proposed cuts were “shortsighted.”

DeVos defended her proposal, calling the Special Olympics “a wonderful organization,” and claiming that the program “is well supported by the philanthropic sector.”

The total $7 billion in proposed cuts to the education budget includes slashes to grant programs for school supplies and services like textbooks and school counseling, as well as cuts to programs supporting after-school activities for underprivileged students.

DeVos also proposed a $5 billion tax-credit plan she called “education freedom.” The proposed initiative would aim to help children attend private schools. The proposal faced criticism, with DeLauro dismissing the plan as a “tax scheme.”