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Ranking Member Cassidy Requests HELP Hearing with Secretary Cardona on President’s Budget, Department’s Misaligned Priorities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged HELP Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to hold a hearing with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to discuss serious concerns with the Department of Education (DeptEd) proposed fiscal year 2025 budget and the Department’s failure to fulfill its basic responsibilities as mandated by Congress.   

Concerningly, President Biden’s proposed budget for DeptEd cuts funding for or flat-funds crucial programs meant to improve access to quality education for American children. Specifically, the proposed budget slashes funding for charter schools by $40 million, limiting families’ options to find the best education for their children. Additionally, the budget flat-funds programs for Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and rural communities, while increasing support for students learning English, 23 percent of whom are non-citizens. While DeptEd seeks to limit resources for improving student success, it increases funding to full-service community schools, which could be used to promote abortion services to children without parental consent or knowledge.  

DeptEd has shown a concerning track record of spending taxpayer money on politically motivated projects rather than implementing congressionally-mandated programs meant to increase Americans’ access to education. Specifically, DeptEd failed to properly implement the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. These delays prevent students and families from accessing crucial financial aid information as they choose the college they can afford to attend. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has prioritized enacting its student loan schemes that shift someone else’s debt onto taxpayers who chose not to go to college or already paid off their loans. 

Since Cardona’s nomination hearing, he has not come before the Committee publicly to discuss his mishandling of DeptEd’s basic responsibilities. As the Committee tasked with overseeing DeptEd, Cassidy is calling for a full public hearing so Committee members can engage with Secretary Cardona directly about the administration’s budget priorities and the serious issues plaguing the Department. 

“With students at the top of mind, it is concerning to see many programs that seem common-sense to the average American either cut or flat-funded in the President’s budget,” wrote Dr. Cassidy. “Most authorizing committees hold budget hearings with their respective cabinet agencies so that the members of the authorizing committee can better understand the proposed budget request. Such a hearing is at the heart of our role in oversight of the agencies under our jurisdiction and in remaining accountable to American taxpayers.” 

Read the full letter to Chair Sanders here and Secretary Cardona here.


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