Oversight Chairs Seek Member Briefing Related to Executive Order Canceling Diversity, Anti-Racism Training

December 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairs and senior Members sent a letter to Director Russell Vought, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), demanding a member briefing and documents about the Trump Administration’s cancellation of diversity and anti-racism training in the federal government and organizations that receive federal funds.

Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney; Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly; Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Chairman Jamie Raskin; National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch; Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi; Environment Subcommittee Chairman Harley Rouda; and Committee Vice Chairman Jimmy Gomez led all Members of the Government Operations Subcommittee on the letter.  Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, David Trone, Jennifer Wexton, and Donald S. Beyer also signed the letter to OMB.

On September 29, 2020, the Members requested documents and information on this matter.  Rather than provide the requested materials, OMB’s November 9, 2020, reply misleadingly claimed that the Executive Order “only seeks to curb trainings that ‘perpetuate racial stereotypes and division.’” OMB also wrote that if a training does not teach “divisive concepts,” then “that particular training would not be impacted by the Executive Order and may continue.”

“These claims do not appear to be accurate.  The Administration’s actions have already shut down initiatives across the nation—inside and outside the federal government—meant to combat bias and discrimination in the workplace,” wrote the Members.

For example, in October, the Justice Department indefinitely suspended all diversity and inclusion training and “any related activities and events” for its employees and managers.  The State Department has similarly frozen all diversity and inclusion training, and reports indicate similar cancellations have occurred at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

“The executive order stymied diversity and anti-racism training efforts outside of federal agencies as well.  The ‘chillingly punitive’ consequences of non-compliance have caused multiple universities and other entities in receipt of federal funds to roll back crucial efforts meant to combat discriminatory and biased behavior,” wrote the Members.

The requested documents and member-level briefing must be provided by December 22, 2020.

Click here to read today’s letter to Director Vought.

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