Capitol Correspondence - 04.01.19

Dept. of Ed’s Proposed Cuts to Special Olympics Generates Congressional Outrage

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As shared by NCB News:

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos struggled before a congressional subcommittee on Tuesday to defend the administration’s proposal to cut at least $7 billion from education programs, including eliminating all $18 million in federal funding for the Special Olympics.

When Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee, asked whether DeVos knew how many children would be affected by cutting Special Olympics funding, DeVos said she did not know.

Pocan responded: ‘I’ll answer it for you, that’s OK, no problem. It’s 272,000 kids that are affected.’

DeVos then said, ‘I think that the Special Olympics is an awesome organization, one that is well supported by the philanthropic sector as well.’

Pocan at that point interrupted the education secretary to say that the proposed budget includes a 26 percent reduction to state grants for special education and millions of dollars in cuts to programs for students who are blind.


DeVos in a statement Wednesday defended the proposal to eliminate Special Olympics funding, saying it is “not a federal program.”

‘It’s a private organization. I love its work, and I have personally supported its mission. Because of its important work, it is able to raise more than $100 million every year,’ DeVos said. Eliminating its federal funding is a matter of ‘budget realities,’ she said, as the government is unable to fund ‘every worthy program.’


The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, it works with more than 5 million athletes across 174 countries, according to the Special Olympics website.”