Sec. DeVos Defends Proposed Cuts to Special Olympics in Education Budget

Lawmakers, celebrities say cuts will hurt children and adults with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are proposing deep cuts to the department's budget, including nearly $18 million in cuts for the Special Olympics.

The Washington Post reports the Trump Administration is looking to cut $8.5 billion from the Education Department's budget, approximately 12 percent of its annual spending . The proposed cuts that are getting the most attention, however, are the ones targeted at the Special Olympics. The organization provides athletic opportunities for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.


Secretary Betsy DeVos (courtesy Dept. of Education)

"I still can't understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. It's appalling," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said during a meeting of the House Education Subcommittee. While Democrats were more vocal in opposition to the budget, some Republicans also expressed doubt about the spending cuts.

The Washington Post reports the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Tom Cole (OK), said some proposed spending cuts were "somewhat shortsighted."

DeVos defended the cuts, saying difficult decisions had to be made and that the budget demonstrated "fiscal discipline ."

Many people in the sports world tweeted opposition to the proposed cuts. Retired soccer star Julie Foudy, a former star on the U.S. Women's National Team, said: "The joy those athletes pass on is absolutely contagious."


SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi tweeted his support for the program, and Tony Reali, host of ESPN's "Around The Horn" said the opportunity to take part in sports can "lead to joy, confidence & enhancement on & off the playing field."


ESPN has had a long partnership with the Special Olympics, broadcasting many of the organization's events.

The budget proposal has a tough, if not impossible, fight ahead of it in the Democrat-controlled House.

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