For Immediate Release

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Phone: 202-662-8600

Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law Blasts OMB’s Proposal to Combine the Departments of Labor and Education

WASHINGTON - Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement following the release of the Office of Management and Budget’s plan that outlines a major overhaul of the executive branch, including the merging of the Education and Labor departments into one federal agency.

“Once again, this administration is making clear its opposition to protecting the rights of our nation’s students and addressing the pressing needs of the most vulnerable members of our workforce.

“In seeking to merge these two critical agencies, with distinct missions and important mandates, the administration sends a strong signal that students and laborers are simply not a real priority. While Secretary Betsy DeVos continues to diminish protections for our nation’s public schools students, her support of this merger proposal lays bare the depths of her hostility for the agency’s mission and work.”

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“This merger reflects just one of the various vectors at this administration’s disposal in its brazen efforts to systematically destroy vital institutions. This administration has repeatedly used the guise of reorganization as a tool for gutting core agencies and dismantling enforcement mechanisms intended to protect our nation’s most vulnerable. We urge Congress to oppose this move, which would gut two of the most critical and needed federal agencies in our country today.”

The Department of Education was launched almost 39 years ago, following passage of the Department of Education Organization Act, which had substantial bi-partisan support. The Act was passed specifically to strengthen the federal government’s commitment to assuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual. The organic act establishing the Department of Labor was signed on March 4, 1913. It is a direct product of a half-century campaign by organized labor for a “Voice in the Cabinet,” and an indirect product of the Progressive Movement “to foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to enhance their opportunities for profitable employment."

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The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law.

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