Massie Introduces Bill To End Federal Department Of Education

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced a bill in the House this week to abolish the Department of Education (DOE). The bill directly challenges whether the DOE has ever had the constitutional authority to exist. The lawmaker claims that the agency should not control children’s intellectual and moral development. Instead, he argues that states and local communities are better positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students.

Massie’s bill is cosponsored by several fellow Republicans, including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Chip Roy (R-TX).
The DOE was established in 1980 during the Carter administration. Former President Ronald Reagan tried dismantling the department in 1981, saying that education is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards and state governments.

The DOE annual budget is $79.6 billion, with the majority allocated to K-12 programs, higher education and federal student aid funding, including loans and Pell Grants.

If the department is abolished, the new law will direct that DOE programs will be terminated or transferred to a new agency, which would arguably support the budgetary savings that Republicans hope to achieve.

The Congressional Budget Office reported in 2012 that terminating a department could lead to considerable budgetary savings. But, the report added: “In particular, lawmakers would face decisions about whether the activities of a department should be carried out by the public sector at all, and if so, whether the federal government was the most effective level of government to conduct them.”

While Massie’s bill is unlikely to pass, it is consistent with Republican efforts to eliminate the DOE that date back to the time immediately after it was created. In 2015, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that the department is unnecessary, and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would consider eliminating it if elected.

Unfortunately, eliminating a federal agency is nearly impossible, and the challenges of reallocating or eliminating billions of dollars in programs would prove to be difficult to overcome.

Massie’s bill is eloquent in its simplicity. It is only one sentence long, declaring: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2022.”


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