When it comes to funding Americans’ education, Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans may need to brush up on their addition and subtraction. Their fuzzy calculations on their MAGA “Default on America” Act have added up to vague federal spending plans that protect defense spending without accounting for the drastic cuts their budget would make to public schools and child care. 

Luckily, Shalanda Young, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director, did her homework. Her latest memo found that the House GOP’s deceptive appropriations would equal a spending cut of 30 percent to all spending areas outside of defense – including federal education programs and childcare aid for hundreds of thousands of children.

These cuts’ impact on America’s public education system would be immediate and devastating – eliminating approximately $4 billion in funding for schools serving low-income children. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 60,000 teachers and specialized instructional support personnel away from an estimated 26 million students.

Even students as young as preschoolers wouldn’t be protected from the House GOP’s plan. The number of students in Head Start – a federal school-readiness program for children under five – would be slashed by 200,000, making it even harder for working parents to secure the care and education their kids deserve. 

Meanwhile, as the toll of the House GOP’s cuts to crucial aid families rely on – such as housing vouchers and food assistance – begin to impact the mental health of working parents and their children, schools may not be able to provide the support students need. The “Default on America” Act is set to roll back educators’ ability to help students by stripping away $300 million in mental health funding.

And that’s not the only vulnerable group of students set to bear the burden of the MAGA plan. As many as 7.5 million students with disabilities would face reduced support under the Default on America Act.

As dire as these cuts to K-12 public education would be alone, the House GOP has also aimed its sights on making it harder for low-income Americans to pursue higher education. 

The Department Of Education estimated that the MAGA Majority’s plan would reduce the maximum Pell Grant award by nearly $1,000 – decreasing aid to all 6.6 million Pell recipients and fully eliminating grants for 80,000 students. Additionally, federal work-study programs would also be forced to eliminate 85,000 work-study positions that help college students stay afloat as they pursue their studies. 

Yet, even earning a degree won’t keep Americans off the hook when it comes to the MAGA Majority’s plan. Their demands call for an immediate end to the student-loan payment pause and ban on loan forgiveness currently benefiting over 40 million borrowers. To double down on their cruelty, House Republicans also aim to block the Education Department’s new income-driven repayment plan and reverse the debt discharges of over 100,000 educators, healthcare workers, and other borrowers that received forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

As GOP lawmakers across the country continue to push their unpopular and extreme agenda on students instead of addressing the barriers to education that truly harm students, it’s no surprise that the House GOP’s cuts add up to reflect the same kind of careless cruelty. 

As Director Young called out in her memo, “House Republicans can do this math as well as anyone […] they are absolutely aware of these very calculations.”

If the House GOP’s plan can’t pass the OMB’s basic arithmetic test, it’s a clear sign their proposal should receive a failing grade when it comes to protecting the education, health, and futures of America’s next generation of students. 

Follow us on Twitter as we track the cost of the MAGA Default to working families, seniors, veterans, and more. 

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