Congress slams 'appalling' DeVos plan to cut all Special Olympics funding


Betsy DeVos defended the Trump administration's planned attack on Special Olympics, and Congress let her have it.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was slammed by members of Congress for her "appalling" plan to completely eliminate federal funding for the Special Olympics.

DeVos appeared before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday to defend the proposal in Trump's budget, which reiterated the administration's previous threat against the program.

"You have zeroed out Special Olympics, once again," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). "I still can't understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. You zero that out. It's appalling."

If the Trump administration had its way, Special Olympics would lose the $17.6 million from the federal government that it relies upon.

After voters rejected the Trump agenda in last November's election and put Democrats in control of the House, such draconian cuts and policies will not be enacted.

In her opening testimony, DeVos defended the attack on special needs children, along with proposals for $7 billion in cuts that would hurt millions of children as "tough but necessary choices."

It's a heartless statement to make coming from an uber-rich woman who is only in her position thanks to her family's lavish donations to the Republican Party and owns a $40 million yacht that flies under a foreign flag so she can avoid paying taxes on it.

DeVos has no qualifications to be education secretary, and her tenure has reflected that. Her nomination was so unpopular that every Democrat in the Senate voted against her, as did two Republicans. Mike Pence had to break the tie, a first for a Cabinet official.

Two years later, DeVos continues to stumble through hearings, showing that she still hasn't learned the details of her vital position.

In an exchange Tuesday with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), DeVos was unable to say how many children would be affected by the attack on Special Olympics.

"It's 272,000 kids that are affected," Pocan informed her.

Still defending the cuts, DeVos was dismissive and said Special Olympics could be supported "by the philanthropic sector."

"Shame on you. This is your watch," committee chair Rep. Rose DeLauro (D-CT) said, addressing DeVos' role in Trump's budget process. The congresswoman also decried the Trump budget as "cruel" and "reckless."

DeVos also defended transferring money to educationally dubious charter schools, a longtime conservative project. She also refused to say that schools shouldn't be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Aiming at Special Olympics is perfectly in tune with Trump's distorted values. Trump infamously mocked a disabled reporter during his 2016 campaign for the presidency.

DeVos is the embodiment of Trump's callous, reckless, and inept approach — and average citizens are on the receiving end of their missteps.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.