Republicans are pushing back on President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTo Build Back Better, improving Black women's health is a must Rahm Emanuel has earned M since leaving Chicago's city hall: report 60 years after the Peace Corps, service still brings Americans together MORE's transgender bathroom directive, with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calling the guidelines a family issue that shouldn't be touched by the federal government.
"He issued a policy that does nothing to improve our schools, nothing to improve math and reading scores," Patrick said during an interview with CNN's Ashleigh Banfield. "This is about social engineering that's going to be totally disruptive to our school day. Parents are not going to accept it."
Obama on Friday issued a directive telling public schools they should allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities. The directive, while it doesn't bear the force of law, carries a threat: Schools that don't comply could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid for breaching Title IX requirements.
Patrick said threatening to withhold federal funds for not following the guidelines hurts the "poorest of the poor," as that funding goes toward paying for free and reduced priced lunches.
"We're not going to be blackmailed by his 30 pieces of silver," Patrick said. "Our parents do not want their children showering together. They do not want boys in the girls rooms. This will be the end of public schools as we know it."
In the "Dear Colleague" letter sent out to every public school district in the U.S., the Obama administration cites Title IX, which passed in 1972 and prohibits discrimination in educational programs, including on the basis of gender.
Patrick argued Title IX doesn't cover people who are transgender.
"It was about not discriminating against race, color, religion and sex — the sex that you are, not the sex that you think you are," Patrick said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened legal action Friday, arguing Obama overstepped his bounds.
"If President Obama thinks he can bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms, he better prepare for yet another legal fight," Paxton said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he would likely call a hearing on Obama's directive.
"I oppose that piece of policy. I think ... it is an executive overreach," King said on C-SPAN Friday. "And it's a topic we're likely to bring up in a future hearing before the task force that I chair."
Officials at the Justice Department and Department of Education, who also signed the letter, champion it as a way to prevent discrimination against transgender students.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a statement.
The move from the Obama administration comes as North Carolina faces a legal battle over a law that requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex assigned at birth.
North Carolina officials also filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, calling its position a “radical reinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.”
Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the law in March, sparking immediate controversy. City governments in other states have restricted travel to North Carolina for public business, and numerous entertainment acts have canceled appearances.
Opponents of the law call it discriminatory to the transgender community.