Biden Admin Makes Moves To Undo Funding Rule After Backlash
The Biden administration has announced it is ready to go back on its recent decision to strip school hunter-education and archery classes of their federal funding.
According to an Education Department spokesperson, the administration now recognizes the limits its language may have created for those programs, which provide "enrichment opportunities" for students. However, before this reversal, the agency had shared guidance that made it clear as to why the groups offering these classes no longer qualified for federal funding.
"The Department of Education continues to implement the law as developed by Congress. The Department recognizes the limits this language may place on certain enrichment opportunities with [Elementary and Secondary Education Act] ESEA funding," the spokesperson said.
The reversal came after lawmakers from both Democratic and Republican parties expressed grave concerns over the administration's interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022.
"School hunting and archery programs are an important part of many Ohioans’ education and teach students how to be responsible hunters, gun owners, and archers. These are exactly the types of programs the administration should be investing in — not cutting off support to," said Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who sponsored the act, also sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona saying the agency was misinterpreting the legislation.
Furthermore, a group of 66 House Republicans, led by GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, sent a separate letter to Cardona condemning the Biden administration's decision.
"This is the most recent example of a series of Far Left pushes by the Biden Administration and Education Secretary Cardona in the name of their partisan political agenda," Stefanik said.
Upon the announcement of the Biden administration's reversal, Reps. Mark Green of Tennessee and Richard Hudson of North Carolina introduced the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, which would prohibit the Education Department from defunding school hunting and archery programs.
The pushback from lawmakers was a result of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, which spurred the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The act included an amendment listing prohibited uses for federal school funding which, according to the bill's authors, was created to prevent the ESEA from funding school resource officer training.
With the announcement of the Biden administration's reversal, there is now a promise of technical assistance to create appropriate legislation to ensure archery and hunting education programs are appropriately funded. In the meantime, the Education Department vows to continue implementing its legislation as developed by Congress.