WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended a proposal to cut nearly $18 million in funding to support Special Olympics to Congress on Tuesday.
DeVos referred to the $17.6 million cut as part of “some difficult decisions with this budget.” She said she thinks Special Olympics is an “awesome organization,” but it would be better supported with philanthropy.
According to a 2017 Special Olympics Reach Report, the organization had a global revenue of nearly $429 million.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, said the decision would impact 272,000 kids during a House subcommittee Tuesday.
Special Olympics is a program designed to give children and adults with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to take part in athletic competition year-round.
Michigan Special Olympics spokesperson Aaron Mills gave the following statement on the proposed cuts:
“Special Olympics is a nonpartisan organization that strongly supports policies, legislation and practices that guarantee the rights, full participation, and integration of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Special Olympics recognizes the progress that has been made around the country in eliminating the stigma, stereotypes, isolation, and discrimination that people with intellectual disabilities face – most importantly around access to sport, health, and education opportunities and services. We ask federal, state and local governments to join Special Olympics in remaining vigilant against any erosion of provisions that have made a substantial difference in the lives of people with ID.
As is the case each year after the President presents his budget to Congress, we engage in opportunities, such as our annual Capitol Hill Day activities, to educate lawmakers about why grant funding for our health and education programming is critical to protecting and increasing access to these services for people with intellectual disabilities. We look forward to continuing to raise awareness among U.S. government officials about the important work that Special Olympics doing in the United States and around the world.”