House Republicans vote to reverse new transgender student protections

House Republicans voted Thursday to overturn a Biden administration rule bolstering federal nondiscrimination protections for transgender students, the latest GOP victory over changes made to Title IX, the civil rights law preventing sex discrimination in schools and education programs that receive government funding.

The Education Department in April unveiled a final set of sweeping changes to the decades-old law, including an expanded definition of sex discrimination that covers discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation — a provision that has angered Republicans in Congress and states across the country.

House Republicans passed a Congressional Review Act resolution Thursday to overturn the administration’s Title IX rule and revert to regulations implemented under former President Trump in a 210-205 party-line vote. Ten Republicans and eight Democrats did not vote.

An identical resolution is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, however, and the White House this week said President Biden will veto the resolution if it reaches his desk. The Education Department did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday’s vote.

Republicans largely argued that the new rule would allow transgender women and girls to participate on female school sports teams, though the Biden administration has yet to finalize a separate rule governing athletics eligibility.

The proposal issued by the Education Department last year would prohibit schools from enacting policies that categorically ban transgender student-athletes from sports teams that match their gender identity, though schools would still be permitted to limit participation based on a particular set of criteria. The department last week delayed the rule, moving the proposal to “long-term action” without a rough deadline.

“The Biden Title IX rule will be the end of girls’ sports,” said Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), the disapproval resolution’s primary sponsor. “We must pray for a return to the Trump administration policies that protected our girls from these vile left-wing people and their agenda.”

House Democrats panned the vote to reverse the new Title IX rule, which would also strengthen protections for pregnant and parenting students and change how schools handle claims of sexual harassment and assault.

“While Republicans claim that this resolution is in the interest of women’s rights, their proposed solution will make the situation worse for female students,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), a co-chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus. “What overturning this rule does is exacerbate existing inequalities, prevent any future administration from enacting a similar rule, then place the blame solely on the LGBTQI+ community. It is shortsighted, petty, and cruel.”

More than two dozen GOP-led states have sued over the new regulations, claiming they undermine the original intent of Title IX. Last month, federal judges sided with the states in three cases, blocking the administration’s rule from taking effect in 14 GOP-led states while the cases play out in court. The remaining states are still expected to implement the changes by Aug. 1.

The administration’s rule is also blocked from taking effect at any school attended by the child of a member of Moms for Liberty, a conservative political group, and at any school attended by members of the Young America’s Foundation, an organization for young conservatives.

Although Title IX is a federal law, each administration takes a different approach to enforcing its regulations, which schools must follow to receive federal funding. In May, former President Trump vowed to reverse the Biden administration’s rule “on day one” of his presidency if he is reelected in November.

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