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Biden Title IX regulation targeted by Republicans in Congress

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Biden Title IX regulation targeted by Republicans in Congress

Jun 13, 2024 | 5:40 pm ET
By Shauneen Miranda
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Biden Title IX regulation targeted by Republicans in Congress
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The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Thursday, June 13, 2024 approved a measure that would roll back a final rule by the Biden administration on Title IX. Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress got one step further in their efforts to reverse the Biden administration’s final rule for Title IX after the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved a measure on Thursday that would overturn the updated regulations.

The U.S. Department of Education’s final rule — which seeks to protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination in schools and is set to take effect Aug. 1 — has been met with a wave of GOP backlash. But even if attempts to roll it back succeed in the House and Senate, President Joe Biden is likely to issue a veto.

Nearly 70 House GOP lawmakers are cosponsoring legislation that Rep. Mary Miller, an Illinois Republican and the committee’s vice chair, introduced last week. The measure seeks to reverse the final rule through the Congressional Review Act — a procedural tool Congress can use to overturn certain actions from federal agencies.

The legislation is headed for a vote in the full House after the Republican-led committee approved the measure in a party-line vote, 24-16.

“Title IX has paved the way for our girls to access new opportunities in education, scholarships and athletics. Unfortunately, (President) Joe Biden is destroying all that progress,” said Miller during Thursday’s markup.

Supporters of Miller’s legislation voiced their opposition to the new regulations during the markup, including committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, as well as Reps. Lisa McClain of Michigan, Bob Good of Virginia and Nathaniel Moran of Texas.

“To be clear, this rule is not about protecting LGBTQ students from sexual harassment. Title IX already does that. I’m gonna repeat that: Title IX already protects LGBTQ students,” said Foxx, a North Carolina Republican.

Good said that “with the stroke of a pen, the Biden administration destroyed Title IX’s promises of equal opportunity to women and eradicated sex-protected spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms and campus housing for students from kindergarten through grad school.”

A slew of Republican attorneys general also quickly challenged the final rule that the federal agency released in April. It has racked up a number of legal challenges in various federal courts as GOP-led states attempt to block the rule from taking effect.

Democratic opposition

Meanwhile, Democratic members of the committee stood against the Republican-led measure.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, of Oregon, said “invoking the Congressional Review Act is not only unnecessary but deeply harmful.”

Bonamici said the new Title IX rule “strengthens protections for vulnerable student populations, including the LGBTQ+ community, and for the first time, Title IX explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Virginia’s Rep. Bobby Scott, ranking member of the committee, said he found it baffling that the committee spent six months and more than five years “investigating the existence of hostile learning environments in education settings and then decides to bring the CRA bill to the committee for reasons they have publicly stated.”

GOP efforts in the Senate 

In the Senate, more than 30 Republicans, led by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, introduced legislation this week that also seeks to reverse the final rule by invoking the Congressional Review Act. Only a majority vote is required in the Senate.

At a Wednesday press conference announcing the legislation, Hyde-Smith called the rule “backward,” saying it “only hurts women and girls by stripping away opportunities and rights they have enjoyed for decades.” She added that the rule would have “dramatic implications beyond the classrooms.”

“Title IX has been about making sure women have a fair shake relative to men. The new Biden rule radically overhauls Title IX, injecting a progressive gender ideology that removes longstanding protections for women and girls,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican and lead cosponsor of the legislation, said in a statement this week.

“This is the death of Title IX as we know it,” he added.

Education Department’s response 

In response to these congressional efforts, a spokesperson for the Department of Education echoed an earlier statement, saying the department does not comment on pending litigation.

The spokesperson added that “as a condition of receiving federal funds, all federally funded schools are obligated to comply with these final regulations.”

The spokesperson also said the department looks forward to “working with school communities all across the country to ensure the Title IX guarantee of nondiscrimination in school is every student’s experience.”

The department has not yet decided on a separate rule establishing new criteria regarding transgender athletes.