Chris Wallace presses DeVos on threats to withhold funding from schools that don't reopen

Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceMnuchin: Democrats will 'have a lot of explaining to do' if they want to challenge Trump orders in court Pelosi: Trump executive actions 'are illusions' Trump teases order requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions MORE pressed Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosStudents at school system Pence called 'forefront' of reopening now in quarantine The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Democrats look to go on offense in debate over reopening schools MORE on Sunday on threats she and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE have made to withhold federal funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wallace questioned their “authority” to “unilaterally cut off” funding for schools that was allocated by Congress. He also challenged the secretary, asking whether reducing funds is “exactly the wrong answer” instead of funneling money to “make schools safer” through measures such as health checks. 

“American investment is a promise to students and their families,” DeVos responded on "Fox News Sunday." “If schools aren’t going to reopen and fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds. Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise.”

Wallace disputed DeVos’s comments on withholding funding, saying, “Well, you can’t do that.”

“I know you support vouchers, and that’s a reasonable argument, but you can’t do that unilaterally,” he added. “You have to do that through Congress.”

DeVos answered by saying the administration is “looking at all the options.”

“It’s a promise of the American people to students and their families, and we want to make sure that promise is followed through on,” she said.

DeVos noted earlier in the interview that there will not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach, saying areas where the coronavirus pandemic is “out of control” in the fall have to be “dealt with differently.”

Last week, DeVos said she was “very seriously” considering withholding funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall, saying that another semester of remote learning would put American students behind. 

"We are looking at this very seriously. This is a very serious issue across the country," DeVos told Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonTucker Carlson calls Fauci a 'fraud' after tense hearing Tucker Carlson calls Obama 'one of the sleaziest and most dishonest figures' in US political history Don't count out Duckworth in Biden VP race MORE.

The president has also tweeted about cutting funding to schools that do not reopen and condemned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for being too tough to allow schools to reopen.

The number of new COVID-19 cases identified each day in the U.S. has been rising in recent weeks, reaching a high of 68,241 new cases on Friday. In total, the nation has confirmed more than 3.2 million COVID-19 cases, leading to at least 134,815 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.