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Trump Administration’s Proposed Budget Would Again Cut Education Funding

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Each year, the budget request is joined by a chorus of reminders from policy-wonks and lawmakers that ultimately Congress has the responsibility for setting funding levels. Congress has wielded that power during the last two budget cycles, rejecting the administration’s proposed cuts, and in fact has increased the Department of Education’s budget over the last several years.

For DeVos and the administration, the main talking point has remained the same. “This budget at its core is about education freedom,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Freedom for America’s students to pursue their life-long learning journeys in the ways and places that work best for them, freedom for teachers to develop their talents and pursue their passions and freedom from the top-down ‘Washington knows best’ approach that has proven ineffective and even harmful to students.”

In past years, both Republicans and Democrats have not taken kindly to the proposed substantial cuts. During Secretary DeVos’s first budget hearing before a Congressional committee, Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, excoriated the administration after it requested a $10 billion cut to the departments budget. The proposal was difficult to defend, he said, adding that “the kinds of cuts proposed in this budget will not occur.”

Still, year after year, the administration makes a similar proposal. “Congress and the administration have not been synced up around the total funding number for the department,” Jim Blew, the assistant secretary of education, told reporters prior to the bill’s release. However, “we’re coming back again asking for a reduction because the administration believes that we need to reduce the amount of discretionary funding for the Education Department.”

The administration is after “fiscal discipline,” Blew added, and there are higher priority spending needs. That is unlikely to sit well with a Congress that has already shown its willingness to roundly reject the administration’s budgets.

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