This audio is auto-generated. Please let us know if you have feedback.

Dive Brief:

  • A trio of House Republicans this month introduced legislation that would freeze hiring at the U.S. Department of Education. 
  • Florida Rep. Aaron Bean, bill sponsor and chair of the House Early Childhood, Secondary, and Elementary Subcommittee, said in a statement this month that imposing a hiring freeze “is just the first step to decrease the role of the federal government and return education policy to where it belongs — the state and local level.”
  • The bill applies to political appointees. It would also claw back the Education Department’s funding for salaries and expenses that would go unused under the legislation.

Dive Insight:

The legislative proposal likely has no chance of passing politically divided Congress, but it does signal some Republicans’ position on the Education Department. 

The rightwing has argued the federal government should play a minimal role in education policy and accused the Biden administration of overreach, including through his signature proposals like student loan forgiveness

Education decisions should instead fall to local and state authorities, as well as parents, the bill sponsors said. 

“Parents should play a central role in their children’s education, not the federal government,” Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois said in a statement. “I am proud to stand with House Republicans in their effort to hold the Biden Department of Education accountable to parents and taxpayers.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a GOP contender for the 2024 presidential election, has pledged to abolish the Education Department, along with several other federal agencies.

The Education Department has struggled with staffing in recent years. Department employees fled under the Trump administration, leaving the agency struggling as it tries to fulfill major policy goals. 

The Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office, for instance, is under immense strain as it carries out regulatory changes, rolls out a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form, and restarts payments for student loan borrowers.