Trump scraps plan to end Special Olympics funding following outcry

Posted March 29, 2019

Pocan appeared on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to discuss the Trump administration's budget, which also includes cuts to special education grants for states and funding for schools that serve blind and hearing-impaired Americans-while calling for $60 million in funding for charter schools.

"I've overridden my people", he added.

When DeVos admitted that she did not know, he said: 'I'll answer it for you, that's OK, no problem.

"But given our current budget realities, the federal government can not fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations", the education secretary said.

Trump has proposed his initial $4.7 trillion budget for 2020, of which $64 billion would be allocated to the Department of Education.

Special Olympics, which gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to compete in athletics on a world stage, has long enjoyed robust and bipartisan support.

In the past two years, Congress has responded to the White House proposal to eliminate Special Olympics funding by increasing the total.

Betsy DeVos is scheduled to present her budget to a Senate subcommittee at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The education secretary has been supportive of Special Olympics in other ways, having donated a portion of her salary to the nonprofit a year ago.

The Special Olympics budget cut is baffling, given the popularity of the program and the relatively low cost in terms of the budget.

"We would lose vital programming for students with special needs in Detroit", said Jardine.

DeVos struggled to defend the proposed cuts before a congressional subcommittee on Tuesday, where Democratic representatives attacked the plan, highlighting the damaging effects such cuts would have on students in need. I mean that genuinely, ' she said. "But given our current budget realities, the federal government can not fund every worthy program, particularly the ones that enjoy robust support from private donations".

Sen. Susan Collins sees Special Olympics as a bipartisan issue.

"It is important to note that the presentation of the president's budget is just one part of the budget process - immediately after it is released, negotiations begin on Capitol Hill", Special Olympics Pennsylvania spokeswoman Nicole Jones said today.

For 2019, MI will get about $200,000 from the federal government to fund programs like the Unified Champions Program, which teams up kids with and without intellectual disabilities.

The organization is largely funded by corporate and private donations. "And to try to blame it on budget cuts and a strict budget environment - Republicans just passed a tax cut that reduced funding into our coffers, and then to say that you don't have the money for Special Olympics or autism funding".

Joe Haden, who plays for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and works as an ambassador for the Special Olympics, said he was sickened by the cut.