Veto-proof supermajorities in both the House and Senate sent legislation to President Biden intended to stop the administration’s move to defund shooting-sports programs in schools through its interpretation of a previous law.
Mr. Biden plans to sign the bipartisan legislation that reverses his own Department of Education’s clampdown, Fox News reported Thursday.
The bill clarifies Congress’ intent that prohibiting federal education funds for certain weapons does not apply to training in archery, hunting, or other shooting sports.
Both chambers this week passed H.R. 5110, known as the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act.
The Senate approved the bill Wednesday by unanimous consent, after the legislation passed the House on Tuesday by an overwhelming margin 424-1.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, Texas Democrat, was the only lawmaker to vote against the legislation.
Congress approved the bill in a rare and overwhelming majority that could have overridden the president’s veto and enacted the law anyway.
The Education Department tried to defund shooting-sports programs in schools that receive federal funds through its interpretation of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was crafted to help prevent further mass shootings. The legislation banned federal funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from being used to provide anyone with a weapon or training involving a dangerous weapon.
However, 24 state attorneys general took issue with the Biden Administration’s move to cancel their states’ programs in hunting education, shooting, and archery, and they proposed the legislation to Capitol Hill lawmakers in early September.
The legislation was introduced in the House by Republican Reps. Mark Green of Tennessee and Richard Hudson of North Carolina. Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, filed a companion measure in the Senate.
“The Biden Administration has this one flat-out wrong – school hunting and shooting sports education classes are part of our Montana way of life and need to be fully funded,” Mr. Tester said in a statement.
“That’s why I’m working with Republicans and Democrats to stand up against D.C. bureaucrats who don’t understand rural America, and I’ll continue to beat the drum until our bipartisan bill gets across the finish line so that our students have access to these critical safety courses.”
Mr. Hudson agreed, saying that “the benefits of hunter education and archery programs should be fully recognized as these classes teach future generations the important skills of public safety, confidence, and comradery.”
He added, “The Department of Education’s attempt to push their radical agenda on our children should not be taken lightly, and I have been proud to lead on this common-sense legislation with my friend, Rep. Mark Green, in order to bring an end to the unnecessary war on archery and hunting classes.”
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