GOP plan to reverse final Title IX rule passes U.S. House, but Biden says he’d veto

Republished from Kentucky Lantern

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Thursday passed a measure to reverse an Education Department rule seeking to extend federal discrimination protections for LGBTQ students, though President Joe Biden has vowed to veto the legislation should it land on his desk.

House passage of the resolution on a party-line vote, 210-205, is part of a barrage of GOP pushback at the state and federal levels to the Biden administration’s final rule for Title IX since its April release. For all schools that receive federal funding, the rule protects against discrimination for students based on “sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.”

Twenty-six states with GOP attorneys general have sued to block the rule, and courts have temporarily blocked it from going into effect in 14 states on August 1.

The 14 states with temporary blocks are: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Illinois GOP Rep. Mary Miller introduced the legislation in early June. A week later, the Republican-controlled House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved it. Miller’s resolution seeks to reverse the rule through the Congressional Review Act, a procedural tool Congress can use to overturn certain actions from federal agencies.

In the Senate, Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith also introduced legislation in June to try to block the final rule under the same tool. The Senate version has gathered over 30 Republican cosponsors.

Rep. Virginia Foxx — chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and a fierce opponent of the administration’s final rule — said during the floor debate Wednesday that she wanted to preserve Title IX, which helped equalize funding for women’s sports and education programs beginning in 1972.

“Title IX ushered in a golden era for women’s competition and education,” the North Carolina Republican said. “There is sanctity in the community and tradition of these memories, these spaces and these opportunities for young girls.”

Regardless of whether the attempt to roll back the measure is successful in the Democratic-controlled Senate, Biden’s veto threat leaves virtually no possibility it could be adopted this year.

Democrats, LGBTQ advocates in opposition 

Democrats and LGBTQ advocates have described the effort to overturn the rule as motivated by misinformation and fear.

“Unfortunately, this resolution has been clouded by misinformation, unfounded fears and with some, just hatred of transgender individuals,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, during the debate.

Oregon’s Rep. Suzanne Bonamici — ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education — said the resolution was “another attempt to undercut this administration’s efforts to empower survivors and protect all Americans from discrimination.”

“If Republicans truly cared about protecting women and children, they would stop this prejudiced rhetoric and take action on bills that would actually protect women from discrimination and harassment and defend women’s reproductive health care, make child care more affordable, preserve opportunities in workplaces for all parents, especially women,” Bonamici said.

Scott called on the House to “reject these narratives and focus on real issues of safety and equity.”

Final rule blocked in more states 

Meanwhile, challenges to the rule are playing out in a handful of federal courts.

Last week, Judge John Broomes of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas temporarily blocked the measure from taking effect in the Sunflower State, along with Alaska, Utah and Wyoming.

Broomes also halted the rule from taking effect in “the schools attended by the members of Young America’s Foundation or Female Athletes United, as well as the schools attended by the children of the members of Moms for Liberty,” all groups that sued alongside the four states, per the order.

Under Broomes’ order, the rule is also halted in an Oklahoma public school attended by a minor who is one of the plaintiffs.

In June, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana issued a temporary injunction barring the final rule from taking effect there, along with Idaho, Mississippi and Montana.

In Kentucky federal court, Chief Judge Danny Reeves temporarily blocked the final rule in the Bluegrass State, plus Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Virginia. Reeves rejected the department’s request for a partial stay of the injunction while its appeal plays out, per a Wednesday court filing.

The Education Department has confirmed it is appealing the other two rulings but did not have an update Wednesday on whether it is filing a notice of appeal on the most recent ruling in the Kansas federal court.

The spokesperson reiterated earlier this week that the agency has “asked the trial courts to allow the bulk of the final rule to take effect in these states as scheduled, on August 1, while the appeals are pending.”

LGBTQ advocacy groups push back on GOP effort

Allen Morris, policy director for the advocacy group National LGBTQ Task Force, said the vote was part of a pattern of anti-LGBTQ policy measures.

“When you look at the rise in hatred and the rise in violence and the rise of young LGBTQ individuals not having the support that they need, where suicide rates are high, it is disappointing to see our opposition go against us with such a high level of intention,” he said.

Morris told States Newsroom that “a lot of what is happening with this extremism is not founded in truth.”

“It is founded in ways to spew hate and to spew fear. It is a lot of fear mongering, and it’s anything to make people feel like their backs are up against the wall, or as if they don’t have the power,” he said.

Echoing a previous statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said it “does not comment on pending legislation” and emphasized that all schools receiving federal funding are obligated to comply with the new regulations as a condition of receiving those funds.

The department has yet to finalize a separate rule establishing new criteria for transgender athletes.

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kentucky Lantern maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jamie Lucke for questions: info@kentuckylantern.com. Follow Kentucky Lantern on Facebook and Twitter. Kentucky Lantern stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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https://kentuckylantern.com/2024/07/11/gop-plan-to-reverse-final-title-ix-rule-passes-u-s-house-but-biden-says-hed-veto/