Republicans unveil effort to claw back school funds Biden admin is holding over hunting, archery classes

Republican Rep Tenney tells Fox News Digital the Biden administration's move to defund school hunting programs is a 'power grab'

 A group of House Republicans led by Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., are unveiling legislation to reverse the Biden administration's crackdown on school hunting education and archery programs nationwide.

Tenney — joined by Reps. Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho, Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Brandon Williams, R-N.Y. — plans to introduce the Protecting Hunting and Archery in Schools Act, which would remove the current federal restriction on funding hunting and archery programs. The bill comes after a Fox News Digital report highlighting Education Department guidance that strips such funding from schools nationwide.

"The Biden administration continues to advance its radical anti-Second Amendment agenda by prohibiting ESEA funding for archery and shooting sports programs," Tenney told Fox News Digital in a statement. "Upstate New York schools offer hunting, archery, and shooting sports programs to teach students how to responsibly handle firearms are respect our Second Amendment rights. "


"The Biden Administration’s attempt to defund these outdoor recreational programs is a power grab and flies in the face of Congressional intent," she continued. "This important legislation will protect these popular after school programs and end the Biden Administration’s attack on our constitutional rights."


Tenney in Congress

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on March 10, 2021. (Ken Cedeno/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Late last month, Fox News Digital reported the Education Department shared federal guidance to hunting education groups highlighting that hunting and archery programs in schools would be stripped of funding. The guidance explained that the administration interpreted the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) to mean such programs can no longer receive taxpayer funds.

In the guidance, obtained first by Fox News Digital, senior agency official Sarah Martinez wrote that archery, hunter education and wilderness safety courses use weapons that are "technically dangerous weapons" and therefore "may not be funded under" the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is the primary source of federal aid for elementary and secondary education across the country.

According to advocates, many schools that offer such courses have already nixed them from curriculums due to the federal guidance.


"President Biden has weaponized the Department of Education to defund certain activities that do not conform to his liberal bias," Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., told Fox News Digital last week. "Hunting and archery programs give millions of students the opportunity to learn about the outdoors, the heritage of hunting, and how to handle a firearm or bow safely."

"These programs build stronger communities and for this administration to say otherwise just goes to show how out of touch it really is with the American people," Foxx added. "This is a cheap attack on Americans’ Constitutional rights — specifically for responsible hunters and gun owners — ahead of next year’s election."

The Department of Education told Fox News Digital this week that it was open to again funding hunting education and archery programs which it acknowledged were "enrichment opportunities" for children. (Getty Images)

Foxx, GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., recently led a letter signed by nearly 70 House Republicans, imploring Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to rescind the guidance.

In addition, Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who cosponsored the BSCA last year, have criticized the Biden administration for its decision to withhold funding for schools. 

Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who were the two Republican sponsors of the BSCA, separately wrote a letter to Cardona, saying his agency was misinterpreting their legislation.

The BSCA — a bill that was criticized as a "gun control" bill, but touted by proponents as an effort to promote "safer, more inclusive and positive" schools — was passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in June 2022 after mass shootings at a grocery market in Buffalo, New York, and a school in Uvalde, Texas.

The law included an amendment to a subsection in the ESEA listing prohibited uses for federal school funding. That amendment prohibits ESEA funds from helping provide any person with a dangerous weapon or to provide "training in the use of a dangerous weapon," but, according to the bill's sponsors, was included to prevent ESEA funding for school resource officer training.

On Wednesday, the Department of Education said it was available to assist Congress with crafting language in future legislation to reverse the guidance.

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