Cox to Biden: Don’t tie food security programs to Title IX

(The Center Square) – Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said school nutrition programs should not be linked with adherence to the Biden administration’s Title IX policies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in May that any school receiving federal nutrition assistance must also commit to investigating allegations of gender and sexual orientation discrimination or lose their funding.

Cox said in a letter to President Joe Biden released late Monday afternoon on Twitter that the issue should be left up to the states.

“Using the hammer of federal funding to force states to adopt policies they don’t support is the height of federal arrogance,” Cox said in the letter. “It cuts off policy innovation, creates resentment and lets problems fester.”

Utah lawmakers passed a law in March that would ban transgender students from participating in middle and high school sports. Cox vetoed the bill and asked lawmakers to indemnify school districts and the Utah High School Athletics from possible lawsuits.

The Legislature overrode Cox’s veto but did pass a bill that created a $500,000 indemnity fund.

States are working through issues of fairness and access in extracurricular sports participation and the Biden administration policy “puts access to important food security programs in the crosshairs of an unrelated debate,” Cox said in his letter.

“I strongly encourage you to pull back the proposed rules and policy guidance and consider how to work more collectively with states,” Cox said.

The policy also drew the ire of 22 state attorneys general. They claimed in a lawsuit filed last week that the USDA’s guidance is unlawful since no other entities provided input.

More than 30 million school children and 100,000 public and private schools that rely on the USDA funds would be affected if the policy stands.