The Education Department confirmed in late July that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed in 2022, allows it to block federal funding for archery, hunting and gun safety units in physical education classes. The legislation, supported by fifteen Republicans and all 50 Democrats, prohibits federal funding from going to programs that provide “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.” Three Democrats who supported the legislation have since spoken out against the move, which Biden administration told Fox News was required by law.
“Any reduction of federal support by the Biden Administration for these school programs is unacceptable,” Montana Sen. Jon Tester tweeted Aug. 2. He later submitted a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona saying that the department “misinterpreted” the statute.
Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who caucuses with the Democrats, and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin also pushed back on the funding cut. A spokesperson for Sinema said that the Education Department ignored congressional intent, while Manchin blasted the administration’s “radical agenda” and “blatant disregard for the law.”
All three senators are facing challenging reelection bids. Manchin, considered the most-endangered incumbent senator, has not yet announced whether or not he will seek a third term representing a state that Donald Trump won by 39 points in 2020. Polls have shown Republican Gov. Jim Justice leading Manchin by as many as 22 points, and the Democrat has pointedly refused to rule out a primary challenge to President Joe Biden rather than returning to the Senate.
— Michael Ginsberg in Vulnerable Dems Blast Biden Gun Control Move They Previously Voted For