The top Republicans on the House and Senate education committees vowed to initiate a congressional review if a proposed Biden rule restricting eligibility for federal funding for public charter schools is finalized.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) reminded Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Thursday that under the Congressional Review Act, the Department of Education is required to submit the charter school regulation to Congress, which can then initiate a review and even vote to repeal it.
The regulation was first proposed in March and would severely restrict which public charter schools are eligible for federal funding, something that experts have warned could force hundreds of such schools nationwide to close their doors.
"While we hope the Department decides against finalizing this misguided proposal that would be catastrophic to the future of charter schools, in the event that the Department moves forward, we ask that you confirm in writing by May 12, 2022 that, if finalized, the Department will comply with the Congressional Review Act and promptly submit the priorities to Congress," Burr and Foxx wrote.
The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to repeal regulatory actions by government agencies by a simple majority vote, although such repeals also require a presidential signature.
While Democrats currently control both the House and the Senate, bipartisan backlash against the proposed rule suggests that an effort to repeal the regulation could pass both chambers of Congress and force President Joe Biden to veto the repeal.
Burr's and Foxx's letter comes the same day that Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), joined with several Republican senators in requesting that Cardona and the Department of Education make substantial revisions to the proposed regulation, which they said would "not prioritize the needs of students and limits high quality choices to certain families."
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Likewise last month, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis denounced the proposed regulation as "confounding" in a Washington Post op-ed and said the Biden administration and the Department of Education had failed to engage stakeholders properly when drafting the regulation.