Dem senator to introduce ’emergency’ amendment to stop DeVos funding bill

Greg Nash

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he is introducing an “emergency” amendment on Thursday to block a funding bill from the Education Department from allowing school districts to use Title IV federal funds to purchase firearms for teachers.

“The Secretary of Education cares more about the firearms industry’s bottom line than the safety of our kids, and that should scare parents to death. I have two elementary school age boys, and so I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that Secretary [Betsy] DeVos’s plan to arm our schools is stopped in its tracks,” Murphy said in a statement.

{mosads} “I’m introducing legislation today to block the arming of teachers, and I do so knowing that earlier this year, Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together to pass a bill that expressly opposed putting guns in the hands of teachers,” Murphy continued.

The Connecticut Democrat went on to say that Congress, parents and teachers “don’t think this is a good idea” and that only DeVos and “the gun industry want this.” 

“More kids will be killed in schools if this policy is put in place—plain and simple. That’s why Congress must block its implementation,” Murphy added. 

It’s unclear if Murphy will try to force a vote or bring up his amendment on the Senate floor. Murphy would need a deal with every senator or the support of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to get a vote, making it unlikely. 

Senators voted to begin winding down debate on the Education-Defense-Health and Human Services-Labor bill on Thursday morning.

The move comes a day after a report in The New York Times stated that DeVos is considering a plan that would allow states to use federal funds allocated to the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAE) to purchase guns for schools. 

According to the Times, the $1 billion student support program is intended to fund the poorest schools in the country and the funds are typically allocated towards improving education curriculum and school conditions. 

Sources told the paper the Education Department would likely approve the measure under the goal of improving school conditions.

“The department is constantly considering and evaluating policy issues, particularly issues related to school safety,” Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, told the newspaper. “The secretary nor the department issues opinions on hypothetical scenarios.”

Tags Chris Murphy Education Mitch McConnell

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