Congress rebuffs DeVos in spending bill: report

Congress rebuffs DeVos in spending bill: report
© Greg Nash

Congress reportedly rejected key policy objectives by Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE in its $1.3 trillion omnibus government funding bill, including her goals to reduce federal spending on schools and promote a school choice-friendly tuition voucher program. 

While DeVos has vowed to cut the Education Department's budget by $3.6 billion, the package unveiled late Wednesday gives the department another $3.9 billion in funds and calls for millions more in after-school program funding, according to The Washington Post

The wealthy Republican donor-turned-Cabinet-member also pushed for the removal of programs that addressed students' mental health, after-school care for needy students and federal funds to help underprivileged high schoolers attend colleges, the newspaper reported. 

Instead, the long-delayed full-year funding package would allocate another $25 million for public schools' mental-health services and $40 million for a tuition assistance program for high schoolers in Washington, D.C., the Post reported.  

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DeVos has advocated school-choice programs that incentivize enrollments in private charter and magnet schools. She will reportedly see no help from Congress on the issue in the new bill, which must be passed Friday in order to avoid another government shutdown. 

Congress also roundly denied DeVos's call for $1 billion in funds for promoting the voucher program, according to the Post, which would allow underprivileged families to exchange tax credits for vouchers discounting private tuition rates.  

In a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing this week, DeVos defended her position that the education budget was outdated, while taking tough questions from lawmakers on gun violence and student loan programs. 

On top of ramping up education funding, the White House-backed package will also provide billions in federal funds for several long-debated policy issues, including more than $1 billion for increased border security measures and a tunnel and rail transport system connecting New York and New Jersey.