Owens to Cardona: “I know how I will protect my girls”

WASHINGTON — Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Chair Burgess Owens (UT-04) today participated in an Education and the Workforce hearing titled “Examining the Education Department’s Policies, Priorities, and FY 2023 Financial Audit Failure.” 

During the hearing, Rep. Owens grilled Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on the implications of the department’s proposed Title IX regulations and rule changes.

Click here or above to watch. 

Rep. Owens began his questioning with concerns about the effect Title IX changes will have on women’s sports.

“Can you assure us that your rules do not change protections that our girls have had for over 50 years,” asked Rep. Owens. “Can you assure us that protecting biological girls from competing against genetically stronger, bigger, and faster biological men will not be considered federal discrimination?” 

Secretary Cardona refused to answer the question, claiming that he will not comment on athletics in Title IX because the rule-making process is still underway and has not been finalized by the department. 

Rep. Owens continued, “Would you allow your daughter to physically fight and get beat up by a boy who calls himself a girl? Yes or no?”

“Be happy to, once we finalize our regulations on Title IX athletics,” said Secretary Cardona.

Rep. Owens continued, “Mr. Secretary, you are in a very unique position to impact the lives, futures, and fortunes of millions of female athletes. Americans on both sides of this debate need to know how deep your commitment is” … “If your daughter was reporting she felt uncomfortable in a boy’s presence in a bathroom or locker room, would that be considered by the administration discrimination or bigotry?”

“I am not going to be commenting on athletics rules that we haven’t proposed,” said Secretary Cardona.

Rep. Owens responded to Secretary Cardona’s refusal to answer basic questions about the department’s proposed Title IX rules.

“I will give my life in a heartbeat for my girls and the blessings I have, they have no doubts about that,” said Rep. Owens. “There are millions of men and women across this country that do not have faith, do not have trust in you protecting our girls because of the policies you can’t say yes or no to.”

Background: 

  • The Department of Education has released its final changes to Title IX rules and regulations which will govern rules for female athletics and female facilities at institutions that receive federal funds.
  • The department released these Title IX rules on April 19th, 2024 along with a summary and compliance resources.
  • Central to this new set of rules is a change to the way “sex-based discrimination” is defined. The new definition is expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Women’s advocacy groups and legal organizations have filed suit in Louisiana and Alabama in response to the change, citing constitutional concerns and regulatory issues which conflict with existing state laws.
  • The plaintiffs argue the expanded definition of “sex-based discrimination” will enshrine in law protections for biological men to use women’s facilities and compete in women’s sports.
  • The new Title IX rules are set to go into effect on August 1st, 2024.

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