Texas risks losing billions in federal funds over Abbott LGBTQ directive, Democrats say

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Texas colleges and universities are at risk of losing billions in federal funding if they follow Governor Greg Abbott’s directive to disregard a new federal rule that enhances nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ students, as warned by Democrats to a state education board on Monday.

In a letter to Texas’s Higher Education Coordinating Board, the state agency overseeing public post-secondary education, four House Democrats from Texas highlighted that public colleges might violate students’ civil rights and jeopardize government funding if they choose to ignore changes to Title IX.

This federal law prohibits sex discrimination in schools and education programs that receive government funding, with the recent changes covering discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time. The new rule is set to go into effect on August 1, despite temporary blocks in enforcement in 10 GOP-led states. Governor Abbott has opposed these changes, labeling them as “illegal” and declaring that Texas will not implement them.

The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Jasmine Crockett and endorsed by Democratic Reps. Sylvia Garcia, Al Green, and Sheila Jackson Lee, accuses Abbott and other officials of using schools as “political pawns” by rejecting the Biden administration’s rule.

The lawmakers expressed concern about the pressure placed on Texas educational institutions by state officials, emphasizing that failure to align policies with the upcoming Title IX revisions could have severe consequences. They warned that losing federal funding would hinder institutions’ ability to provide scholarships, putting educational opportunities at risk for many aspiring Texas students.

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