President Obama’s transgender order is moving all right — from the classroom to the courtroom! Thanks to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the rocky road just got rockier for the administration trying to bully public schools and universities with its twisted agenda. Two weeks into the outrage caused by the Justice and Education Departments’ order that districts open their locker rooms and showers to both genders, the nationwide outcry is only growing. Furious that the president would try to take students hostage to its radical agenda, dozens of local and state governments are fighting back.
This afternoon, in the shadow of the Austin Capitol, Paxton told the Obama administration that if it wanted to commandeer Texas’s schools, he’d have to go through millions of Americans first. With the support of Governor Greg Abbott (R), Paxton made it official in a press conference this afternoon that Texas would be leading the charge with a major, multi-state lawsuit just filed against the federal government. Appalled by an executive overreach that puts every student at risk, 11 states have teamed up to fight the Obama administration.
Together with the Lone Star State, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, and the governor of Maine are linking arms to stop this gross abuse of federal power. “[The Obama administration has] conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” the complaint reads. “Absent action in Congress, the states, or local communities, defendants cannot foist these radical changes on the nation.”
While the states are putting action to their words, Congress isn’t. While the DOJ and DOE flout congressional authority by rewriting the current law, putting the people’s safety and privacy at risk, the GOP congressional majority has yet to act. Apart from the Senate’s 25-member letter to Secretary John King and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and individual press releases, Congress has been mum. And their silence has come at a particularly frustrating time. Just yesterday, Republicans at the committee level had the chance to put the squeeze on the DOJ in its Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill and refused. They could’ve made the Obama administration pay for its ideological blackmail with one swift kick to the agency’s funding, but chose not to act.
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One of the most powerful tools in the House’s shed is the ability to restrict money to departments acting uncontrollably. Congress can and should use the constitutional power of the purse as a check on a runaway administration. But, for reasons unknown to anyone with political sense, the GOP missed the opportunity to crack down on the president’s lunacy. It raises the question: if the Republicans won’t stand up and challenge the president on a policy this outrageous, what will they fight for? Congress should be out front and swinging on this issue, not sitting on the sidelines watching governors and state attorneys general doing the heavy lifting. And, as everyone from Georgia to Virginia knows, this is about as close to a consensus issue as there is! In school districts like Grayson County, officials have been stunned and overwhelmed by the flood of opposition to the president’s edict. “I can’t tell you how many calls we had, but we had more calls than we could count,” said Superintendent Kelly Wilmore.
There, local leaders in that Virginia county just voted – unanimously — to leave the bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers gender-specific. “It wasn’t the politics of just the Republican side… it was a lot of people on the other side of the fence too [who] are really having concerns with who has access to the bathrooms… I don’t get into politics… I work for the kids. My concerns have been safety and privacy from day one.” Wilmore said the board felt secure making the move because Alliance Defending Freedom had offered to defend U.S. school districts for free. In Georgia, the top education official, State Superintendent Richard Woods, warned the Obama administration that it can threaten their schools’ money, but it had better be prepared to answer for it in court. “If the federal government does decide to withhold federal funds, enforce this directive, or bring suit against any district in Georgia because of a decision a local district makes, we will work with all parties to take appropriate action.”
Fortunately, tens of thousands of you have already taken action! Our thanks to all of you who signed our petition to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), calling on leadership to intervene and protect America’s kids. This afternoon, I met with Speaker Ryan to personally deliver your message and the 105,000 names attached to it. Hopefully, your voice — together with the courage of so many states — will spur Congress to action.
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