Betsy DeVos Wants to Cut Special Olympics Funding. Here’s Why It Probably Won’t Happen. – The New York Times

A spokesman for the Special Olympics did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

In an interview on MSNBC, the organization’s chairman, Timothy Shriver, said that the program offered opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities to interact with their peers and helped foster an inclusive culture in schools.

“We are now in a new ballgame of trying to educate young people about the importance of an inclusive mind-set to the future of the country,” Mr. Shriver said.

“The country is starving for this,” he added. “Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, black, white, urban, suburban, gay, straight. I have to say almost everybody when they see this, they say, ‘My god, what a breath of fresh air.’”

Ms. DeVos defended her budget’s overall approach and touted its fiscal discipline, but faced sharp questions at Tuesday’s hearing, including from Representative Mark Pocan, Democrat of Wisconsin, who said that he had two nephews with autism.

“Do you know how many kids are going to be affected by that cut, Madame Secretary?” Mr. Pocan asked.

“We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget,” Ms. DeVos replied, acknowledging that she was not sure the exact number of children affected by the proposed funding cuts to the Special Olympics.

“I think Special Olympics is an awesome organization,” Ms. DeVos said, “one that is well supported by the philanthropic sector as well.”

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