Trump says Special Olympics will be funded, reversing course

Trump says Special Olympics will be funded, reversing course

The amount of money potentially saved by the United States government if it eliminated its support for the Special Olympics would be US$17.6 million (NZ$26 million).

President Donald Trump's administration is again seeking to cut its funding for the Special Olympics - a move that met with vocal Democratic disapproval on Capitol Hill this week and which both the Kennedy family and some ESPN personalities also criticized.

She said she hopes the government continues to fund Special Olympics "to show that as a nation, we care about people that are marginal within our society".

"I heard about it this morning".

Trump officials previously called for the elimination of Special Olympics funding in their budget proposal for 2019, but Congress rejected the idea.

Pressed on whether she approved the cut to Special Olympics, DeVos said, "No, I didn't personally get involved". This is funding I have fought for behind the scenes over the last several years.

"The Special Olympics is not a federal program", she added. DeVos issued a statement on the coverage of her 2020 budget proposal for the Education Department, which cut $17.6 million in aid to the Special Olympics: "It is unacceptable, shameful, and counterproductive that the media and some members of Congress have spun up falsehoods and fully misrepresented the facts".

The proposed cut generated a storm of criticism from advocates and celebrities this week, with many rallying to support the organization. In a statement defending the cut, DeVos said she has personally donated to Special Olympics but it's unaffordable for the government to support. Kasich, who also represented OH in the U.S. House, said that when he was on the budget committee, "these types of programs were off limits - for good reason".

"Those are things that touch so many lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities in Kansas", said senior vice president of communications at Special Olympics Kansas, Heather Waters. "There are dozens of worthy nonprofits that support students and adults with disabilities that don't get a dime of federal grant money".

The Department of Education also wants to cut $7 billion in spending on education which is roughly 10 percent of the department's total budget.

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.

"We had to make some hard decisions with this budget", said Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

About 8 percent of Special Olympics Maine's annual budget, which is now $1.4 million, comes from federal grants distributed by Special Olympics Inc.

While the proposal would slash money for various education programs, including a student loan forgiveness program for public employees that DeVos' team reportedly described as duplicative and ineffective, it seeks to increase funding for school choice tax credits for students K-12.

Jones said the organization sees this as an opportunity to raise awareness among government officials and in the communities about what they do.

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