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Proposal to Merge Labor and Education Departments Shows a Trump Administration With No Useful Plans for American Families

June 21, 2018

Proposal to Merge Labor and Education Departments Shows a Trump Administration With No Useful Plans for American Families

Statement of Public Citizen Experts

Note: According to reports, President Donald Trump’s administration today will recommend merging the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor. This change would require Congress’ authorization.

“The Trump administration’s DOA proposal to combine – and shrink – the Departments of Education and Labor reveals its contempt for both the children and workers of America. While it is true that the Trump Department of Education gets a failing grade, America’s kids do need a robust department – to advance pre-K education, to ensure all children attain a quality education, to enforce civil rights and disability rights laws, to prevent rip-offs by predatory for-profit colleges and much more. Similarly, while the Trump Department of Labor is falling down on the job, America’s workers count on the agency to protect and enforce their rights, ensure the safety of their workplaces, guarantee their retirement plans and much more. The proposed department reorganization is meant to further undermine all of these crucial protections, not enhance them.

Three things underlie the administration’s proposal: an utter disregard for the missions of the agencies and the key services and protections they should provide; an extremist ideology that aims to shrink and dismantle government without regard to consequences; and a belief that children and America’s workers are fodder for big corporations. The American people disagree, overwhelmingly, with the administration on each of these points.

It is profoundly telling and troubling that, amid public outrage over its cruel and heartless program of separating immigrant children from their families, the Trump administration would propose to dismantle the Department of Education. No doubt the people making policy in the Trump administration love their own children, but they are utterly without compassion or concern for the children of people they don’t know.”

– Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

“This proposal is another brazen attempt by the administration to dismantle our government – this time at the expense of workers and students. Since Trump took office, he actively has worked to undermine the Departments of Labor and Education through budget cuts, hiring freezes and reckless deregulation. It’s also hard to conceive how such a merger would work in practice, since the administration has tried repeatedly to slash vital workplace education and job training programs. This disingenuous proposal is just the latest in Trump’s running list of broken promises to working people. If it comes before Congress, lawmakers must place our next generation and workers first by flatly rejecting it.”

– Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen