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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday at a House hearing gave a staunch defense of her request to slash billions of dollars from her agency’s budget, including nearly $18 million in cuts from the Special Olympics designed to help children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.

"Let me just say again, we had to make some difficult decisions with this budget."
— DeVos said in response to a question about the proposal.

Details: DeVos, who told lawmakers that she doesn't know how children would be impacted, later added: "I think the Special Olympics is an awesome organization, one that is well supported by the philanthropic sector as well." According to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who pressed her about the budget cuts, 272,000 children will be affected should Congress approve the proposal.

  • DeVos' proposal is part of the Trump administration's new proposed spending plan for the 2020 fiscal year. 
  • Per the Washington Post, the administration is seeking to to cut more than $8.5 billion from the Education Department’s budget.

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.