Levin Amendment to Increase Funding for Department of Education Watchdog Passes House

June 13, 2019
Press Release

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a provision authored by Congressman Andy Levin, vice chair of the Education and Labor Committee, that would allocate $4 million to the Department of Education watchdog office that conducts nonpartisan oversight and investigations of the agency. The money would be moved from the Office of Labor-Management Standards, which, under the Trump Administration, has been used to harass labor unions.

“It is extremely telling that while the President called for across-the-board cuts to agency funding in his budget proposal, he asked for a funding increase to the office this Administration is misusing to bust unions,” Congressman Levin said. “That money is better spent holding Betsy DeVos accountable for abandoning her duty as the chief defender of our nation’s public schools. The Department of Education has repeatedly violated the law in its rulemaking processes and continues to show little regard for its mission to protect students. It’s time to increase funding for the Inspector General’s office so that it can fulfill its charge and conduct nonpartisan oversight.”

Earlier this year, Congressman Levin pressed Betsy DeVos in a House Education and Labor Committee hearing about a court order determining that the Department of Education acted illegally in delaying a rule to make it easier for students who have been defrauded to receive loan forgiveness.

The Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General is currently at historic low full-time equivalent employment. A $4 million funding boost would enable the office to bring on additional auditors and investigators to conduct indispensable nonpartisan oversight.

The provision was included as an amendment in the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.

The amendment passed 233-187 and was cosponsored by eleven members of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor including Josh Harder (CA-10), Susan Davis (CA-53), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Alma Adams (NC-12), David Trone (MD-06), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP-AL), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).