DeVos and Trump’s Disastrous Budget Cuts

Today, Betsy DeVos is testifying before Congress, where she’ll once again try to defend Trump’s disastrous budget cuts, which would hurt students and teachers.

Last week, Democrats slammed DeVos as she stood by Trump’s budget, which slashes the Education Department’s budget and eliminates funding for 29 key programs.

CNN: “Overall, the administration is proposing to cut the Education Department’s budget by 7.8%, to $66.6 billion.”

Nexstar: “House Democrats on Thursday berated U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over the Trump administration’s proposed education budget, calling it an attack on public schools. Raising their ire: a plan to roll education funding into general block grants. ‘You deny the resources to the most to the schools that need the help most, yes, you will fail,’ an angry Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., told DeVos during a hearing. … ‘It’s code for cutting programs,’ Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said of the block grants. Bustos added the proposed budget would decrease funding to rural school districts already desperate to recruit teachers. ‘The fact that they’re cutting that, that’s a statement that they are not taking this problem seriously and it’s a big problem for our kids,’ she said.”

DeVos also defended Trump’s plan for a $5 billion tax break to fund private and religious school tuition and couldn’t guarantee these schools wouldn’t discriminate.

Washington Post: “The administration’s top education priority, which appears in the Treasury Department’s proposed budget as a line item, is $5 billion to give tax breaks for a program called the Education Freedom Scholarships. Individuals and groups who want to help children attend private and religious schools can donate to nonprofit groups set up to accept the money. … One heated moment unfolded when Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) asked DeVos whether private and religious schools that enroll students funded by these scholarships should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, religion or anything else. Currently, many schools that enroll children with publicly funded scholarships legally discriminate against various groups of students. As she has in the past, DeVos refused to say schools should not be allowed to discriminate.”

Trump’s budget fails to offer any proposals to deal with the student loan crisis — instead, it calls for slashing federal student loan spending by $170 billion.

Hartford Courant: “The proposal would cut $170 billion from student loan programs, partly by eliminating subsidized federal student loans and ending the public service loan forgiveness program (both of which appeared in last year’s budget but were not adopted by Congress).”

Washington Post: “At one point Trump had demanded that his aides come up with a bold program to address student debt, sweeping enough to compete with top Democrats in this year’s presidential campaign. But administration officials could not reach consensus on how to do so. The $4.8 trillion budget plan put forward on Monday instead cuts billions of dollars from the student loan program without pitching any significant new initiatives.”